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Mom n’ pop shop Sound Sports devastated by burglary

The precisely-placed hole the burglars cut to get into Sound Sports. (KIRO 7)

Ben Raykovich and his wife call their downtown Seattle business, Sound Sports, “a labor of love.”

The couple has run the athletic shop near 1st Ave and Madison for 22 years, not an easy feat in the era of online and big box competition.

“We work pretty hard,” Raykovich told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson. “But it’s enjoyable … we love it.”

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Despite rampant crime downtown Seattle, Raykovich said that Sound Sports has not experienced many criminal encounters in the past.

“We haven’t had too much difficulty here … Of course we’ve gotten broken into, but it hasn’t tapped us that hard,” he said.

In the early morning hours of Tuesday, however, the couple’s two decades of hard work met the greatest threat ever faced, when burglars cut a hole to get into the shop’s 60 square-foot storage room, and quickly cleared the store of valuables.

“They cut a hole precisely in the location that it needed to be — if it were left a foot or right a foot, they wouldn’t have gotten in,” Raykovich said. “But they hit it right, there was no trial and error … It’s phenomenal as to the accuracy.”

The burglars, who have not been caught, made a beeline for the most valuable goods in the store — high-quality athletic clothing such as runners’ jackets that retail for $300, and electronics like the computer system, backup computer systems, and installation discs. They also pulled the alarm off the wall and cut the phone lines.

The crime appears to be no ordinary smash-and-grab, but a thoroughly-planned-out heist by someone with a clear knowledge of where the store’s most expensive items could be found.

“These guys knew what they were doing,” Raykovich said. “It was a well-coordinated operation.”

Although the people responsible looked to be familiar with the space, Raykovich does not believe that any current or former employee could have committed the crime. He surmises that a service person with access to the building’s layout plans is responsible.

There is no definite calculation of losses yet, but it’s looking to be at least $20,000. Ironically, Sound Sports is self-insured for theft, a decision made only in the past year.

“The kicker on this is, we’ve had full coverage for the last 21 years,” Raykovich said. “And then this year, our rates went up, and we said, ‘Let’s just do liability. They’re not going to really get to anything here, we’ve got this place pretty well secured.’ And then this happens.”

It’s a tremendous loss for any mom n’ pop shop, but the crime especially hurts Sound Sports right now. With the Highway 99 tunnel construction going on down the street, business has already been rough for the past few years.

“We’ve been playing it close to the vest because the viaduct and tunnel thing has been going on …  three or four years, and so our inventory has to be tight until this all gets done, and so with that, it especially hits hard because the inventory is so tight,” Raykovich said. “And now, you know, you can’t sell out of an empty wagon.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help offset the losses Sound Sports is now facing. Click here to donate.

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