Car crash, shoplifter all part of Naperville merchant’s day

There was plenty to do after a car drove into a window of Country Curtains in downtown Naperville. | Bill Bird~Sun-Times Media
There was plenty to do after a car drove into a window of Country Curtains in downtown Naperville. | Bill Bird~Sun-Times Media

“We’ve never had a day like this.”

With her very best smile and no small amount of understatement, Ann Solomon recounted the most unusual day she’s ever experienced as manager of Country Curtains in downtown Naperville.

First, a team of workers arrived to begin a scheduled repairing of the roof of the shop, at 233 S. Main St.

Then, a hapless teenage driver who was trying to park in the store’s lot stepped on his car’s accelerator instead of its brake, ramming into one of the shop’s windows and showering its showroom with glass.

And finally, a shoplifter took advantage of the ensuing commotion, and stole a $135 mirror from one of the store’s walls.

Oh, and that teenage motorist? He’d gotten his driver’s license two hours before the crash occurred.

Solomon said she was happy no one had been hurt during the incident. That included one of the shop’s employees, who narrowly escaped injury when all of the glass started flying, she said.

The crash occurred about 12:02 p.m. Tuesday, according to written Naperville police reports.

The unidentified, 16-year-old driver of the car “accidentally hit the gas pedal instead of the brake pedal while parking, and drove over a parking block,” the report read in part. The front of the car struck the store’s window, “causing damage to the window and frame,” the report stated.

“There was glass everywhere,” Solomon said. The driver also admitted to her that “he had his license just two hours” prior to the crash.

Police officers and firefighters arrived to help Solomon and other employees assess the damage.

“In all the hullabaloo, while we were all running around,” a shoplifter slipped inside the building and made off with a mirror, she said.

Police reports indicated the theft likely occurred between 2 and 2:37 p.m. Solomon said the thief got away with a 26-inches-around, circular mirror made of beige and brown driftwood, and valued at $134.50.

“We were all asking, ‘Did you ring that up?’” after employees found the mirror missing from the store’s south wall, Solomon said. They searched the shop to see if it had been put somewhere else, and “then we just realized that (the shoplifter) took it. She saw the opportunity.”

The thief was described as being a white woman in her mid-30s. She stood approximately 5 feet 10 inches tall and was wearing a white shirt at the time of the theft.

Police are looking for the shoplifter. No tickets were issued in connection with the crash, as it happened on private property.

Solomon had a patient reply when asked if things were always so lively at the store.

“No,” she said with a wry smile. “It’s very quiet here.”

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