"I've never had anybody take anything from me. To see it on video, was like woah...it was a shock," said Melissa Seals-Jackson, owner of Studio 99 Salon. She has been a hairstylist for 25 years and opening her second location at the end of 2019 near Lake Merritt was a dream come true.
She showed ABC7 News photos of that location. "I started from the ground up, I put the floors in, and everything. Then the pandemic hit."
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Like all salons, Jackson was forced to shut down.
"I maximized my savings to the point where I started using credit cards to pay my bills."
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In November of 2020, Melissa put everything from the Lake Merritt store into storage in Oakley where she lives, closing that location for good.
She had planned to open a new 2nd location this spring. But this week, she got a phone call from the storage facility with bad news.
"It was three people, they had three dollies and it seemed like about 10 minutes they were out of there."
As seen in video used in the police investigation Jackson's unit was broken into.
She says the manager told her the suspects, allegedly rented a unit on February 5, and can be seen on surveillance, accessing and removing nearly all of Jackson's belongings the next day.
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Through a veil of tears, Jackson says it was "a slap in the face when someone steals your stuff you worked so hard for. It didn't come easy."
ABC7 spoke with three storage companies in Oakley. They all say this is the MO for crooks: They rent a unit and gain access to the building. All three now have "do not rent to" lists."
Jackson is unsure how much insurance will cover and estimates about $10,000 in items were stolen. Despite the setbacks, she is determined to find another location. She says it's the support of others, that keeps her going.
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"I've been doing this for 25 years all by myself. I know I'm not going to get my stuff back, but I did work hard."
More information on Studio 99 Salon can be found here.
Oakley police are investigating.