Q Audio gets sad welcome to Central: Sunday robbery costing $10,000 in gear
Welcome to the neighborhood? After four decades on Vassar Street, Dariusz Dobrolinski moved his Q Audio store to Brookline Street in Central Square this month – and was robbed of about $10,000 worth of equipment.
Two men broke in at 6:17 a.m. Sunday, stopping their large, light-colored station wagon or crossover on the street and hurling a large brick or cinderblock at the front glass door twice to gain access. After kicking the safety glass aside from the doorframe, the men climbed in, grabbed speakers and boxed audio equipment from store shelves and were gone in about three minutes.
They were watched by at four video cameras that got fairly clear views of a robber’s face and the vehicle.
“I put up the cameras so visibly just to give the idea [to robbers] that, ‘Oh, I don’t want to do this,’” said Q Audio owner Dariusz Dobrolinski. When preparing his move into Central Square three weeks ago, he thought it was a good way to feel secure leaving the glass front and not obscuring the view into his spacious, sparely appointed store with its comfortable couch and hardwood floors. He took over the space once used by Buckaroo’s Mercantile, the eccentric “modern variety store” store that closed its storefront in January after two decades in business.
What went wrong with Q Audio’s security, despite Dobrolinski’s precautions, is that the inner doorframe to which the glass was attached gave way. Now he’s screwed the frame to the door differently, set up a sirenlike alarm and is considering even more security measures. Central Square has been seeing many robberies lately, he said.
“I’m now looking into grates for the windows, which I wanted to avoid,” he said Thursday.
“I’m not sleeping well at night. I can see the store from my house,” Dobrolinski said, and since the robbery he finds himself getting up to look over at the store at all hours. “You don’t want to be up looking at the store all the time.”
He doesn’t expect to get his stolen equipment back or for insurance to make him whole, but he would like the robbers caught “on principle” and thinks police have a good lead in addition to a video camera’s long look at a robber’s face: a second truck that passed by the store repeatedly before the robbery, likely checking out the scene to make sure Q Audio was safe to rob at that hour on a rainy Sunday.
The store caters to audiophiles who need the perfect stylus for their turntable or a complete high-end stereo system. It boasts of bringing back the very first CD players in the United States from the 1982 Tokyo Audio Fair for sale to its early-adopter clientele, which included many from the MIT community. Online reviews of the store and of Dobrolinski are glowing in recommending his customer service and the quality of his work and gear.
“I will survive,” he said. “I work hard, and I’m proud of what I do. I love this.”