Handpie Company changes parking lot policy after staffer's car broken into
For years, going back to when it was the location of a bank, people have used the parking lot at the Handpie Company in Albany, P.E.I., as an unofficial carpool station.
Wanting to be a good member of the community, the owner of Handpie Company allowed it — even if the driver didn't come in and buy a pastry.
The location is convenient, just off the TransCanada Highway and not far from the Confederation Bridge on the way to Summerside.
But after an incident last week, Sarah Bennetto O'Brien said she can no longer allow unattended vehicles to park on the property.
On May 13, someone broke into the car of one of her employees, smashing the window and stealing a few items.
Based on surveillance footage, Bennetto O'Brien believes it was someone connected to one of the cars that was parked on the lot overnight.
East Prince RCMP said they are investigating — so the vandals may get their just desserts, after all.
But Bennetto O'Brien said she can't risk the safety of her employees, and she also needs the extra parking space for customers and a growing staff. So she is moving forward with the new policy.
"It feels kind of anti-community to have to make this rule because I know that some folks really did rely on being able to leave their car here sometimes. But really the staff comes first and to feel safe, we need to institute this rule."
She said her regular customers and staff support the decision.
"It comes as a shock to all of us just being so rural and being part of a small community. We've never experienced any sort of break in or violence up to this point, and I always knock on wood when I say that. But everyone was very shaken and having the RCMP here for a very busy last hour we were open that day, raised a lot of eyebrows."
Bennetto O'Brien said she will be putting up signs advising people their cars could be towed if they are left unattended for long periods of time.
"We're not in business to be a car parking lot and to bring on extra liability insurance or extra cameras. We really can't take responsibility for anything that would happen to a car left here overnight."