'I can't handle it': Portland small business owner speaks out against rising crime

"I can't handle it," Froman said. "It's killing me emotionally and mentally."

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC
Buck's Stove Palace has been a mainstay in Southeast Portland for nearly 50 years, however increasing theft has led founder and owner Buck Froman to consider shutting down for good.

While some of the break-ins took place at the shop, which has sat at Southeast 68th and Foster Road since 1974, the majority occurred at Froman's storage facility about a mile down the road.

As KGW8 reports, over the past weekend alone, the facility was broken into numerous times. With law enforcement unable to come to his defense due to staffing issues, he took matters into his own hands and ended up with injuries after falling while pursuing the suspects.

"I can't handle it," Froman said. "It's killing me emotionally and mentally."

He explained that after one round of thefts, he changed the locks, but perpetrators simply cut through them and made off with more products. At one point, the driver of a pickup truck drove through the chain link fence surrounding the property, tearing off its front bumper and knocking the barrier to the ground.

Froman said that it was then that he called the police and subsequently tripped on the fence, giving himself a black eye.

The suspects made off with stoves from the Civil War and other items, though it is unclear what they have done with them. Froman has stated that he is trying to retrieve them.

To prevent future thefts, he has begun transporting the stoves from his storage facility to other locations, however it remains to be seen whether that will deter those hellbent on stealing his antiques.

Froman told KGW8 that while he does plan on staying open through the season, what comes after that is up in the air. He has floated the idea of reducing hours of operation, or even ceasing operations entirely.

His business has been described by customers as "legendary" and "the best place to go for wood stoves in the whole Pacific NW."
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