Open: Susu is open for business this week despite losing many purses to a weekend burglary. Grace Inez Adams

Susu, a handbag boutique on Main Street was burglarized early Saturday morning. The owner, Susu Zheng, said that over 30 bags were taken with a combined value of over $10,000. 

Zheng awoke to the news at around 3:30 am.

“My mind went blank for five seconds,” she said. “I was still in my pajamas, it suddenly felt very cold. I got up and put my clothes on, tried to keep calm, not panic and then I drove over [to the store].”

She said two police cars were already there when she arrived and that broken glass surrounded the entryway. Security footage obtained from neighboring Shoop’s Deli shows a person dressed in black and wearing an orange beanie walking up to Susu while pushing a garbage bin, smashing the glass of the boutique’s door, entering and tossing bags out and into the bin before wheeling it away.

Zheng said her store does have an alarm but that the burglary happened too quickly for anyone to respond in time. The suspect was in and out in less than three minutes. She added that the suspect took her most expensive styles and seemed to know which bags were the most valuable, leading her to believe there was prior planning involved.

“It makes me think he may have cased it,” she said. “He may have come into the store, looked around, saw the price points and checked the bags.”

Zheng said she has a security camera inside the store, but that it was not operational the night of the theft because she was in the process of resetting her wifi password after her email was hacked the week before and hadn’t hooked the camera back up yet.

After the police left, Zheng didn’t want to leave her store unattended with the broken door so she stayed there alone for several hours until the police returned to do forensics and several friends came to help her clean up. She said customers, nearby business owners and even strangers who heard about what happened have been reaching out with messages of support and some have sent flowers or come by to buy bags.

“A lady came in who lives near here – she was in my store before and she had bought a bag for her sister-in-law – she came in and she was crying.” Zheng said. “I was really touched and she said ‘don’t leave please, we love you, and we love your store – it’s beautiful.’”

Zheng first opened Susu on Main Street in December 2021, but has been designing and selling the bags online for over a decade. She said she has no plans of leaving the area but does intend to beef up her security. When she fixes the door, which is currently covered by a bolted-on wooden plank, she said she is going to add a metal sliding feature which she can close at night.

The investigation into the robbery is ongoing. An SMPD spokesperson said there are “no details of the suspect(s) at this time” and that the police report on the incident has been forwarded to Criminal Investigations Division detectives to follow up.