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Longmont small store forced to close after bad check used to buy out inventory

St. Nix toy store in Longmont
Posted at 4:23 PM, Jan 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-20 19:11:52-05

LONGMONT, Colo. — A local toy shop said one bad check is forcing them to close their store.

The shelves at St. Nix Collectibles, Toys & Antiques in Longmont are packed right now, but not for long.

"Moving forward, we will be closing our brick and mortar, February 19," said owner Virginia Miskel.

This is all after what they thought was a Christmas miracle turned bad.

In early December, a man walked into their store and started looking around.

"He said, "I do a motorcycle toy drive, a Toys for Tots thing,"" Miskel recalled. "Then he came up to the counter and was like, "I want one of everything.""

The owners boxed up all the toys and closed the store since not much was left.

After a few failed attempts to charge the customer's debit card, he eventually gave a personal check for around $56,000. Miskel deposited the check and didn't notice anything strange.

"When we checked our account, everything was there, that whole amount was there. $56,000 was there," said Miskel.

The customer brought a truck for all the toys, and the store owners helped him load it up.

"We figured since we had been blessed with all of that, we were going to go bless other people," said Miskel. "We bought a bunch of supplies, socks, toothbrushes, that sort of thing, and made bags to hand out to homeless people. We also spent $500 at Arc getting them gift cards."

They also spent nearly $2,000 to restock their inventory.

A few days later, all of the money was gone from their account. Bank statements show "Charge-Back of Deposited Item." There was not enough funds in the customer's account.

"Just made our stomach drop. It was terrifying," said Miskel.

It's been nearly a month since the check bounced. Some of the toys have since been returned, but only after the busy holiday shopping season was over.

"We missed out. Nobody's looking to buy stuff now. And now, we have twice as much as we did before, because we had filled the store about 60% after we had cleared it all out," said Miskel. "We have stuff on top of stuff and no sales."

The Longmont Police Department told Denver7 it is in frequent contact with the person involved. Denver7 is choosing to not identify the customer since no criminal charges have been filed at this point.

Police say their investigation is ongoing.

It's all too little too late for St. Nix. They can't afford rent and now have to leave their spot on Main Street.

"We just want people to know that this happened. This can happen to anybody else. He could have gone in anybody else's business and done this. And it's not right," said Miskel.

Police say the best protection for large transactions is a cashiers check. That way the funds are guaranteed.

"Probably some poor decisions on our end by not going off the declined card and just putting too much trust. But I guess we were just excited, you know, as anybody would be. $56,000 is a lot to most people," said Miskel.

The business will pivot to all online sales now. They hope to be able to participate in trade shows and comic conventions in the future. Right now, they are hosting a store closing sale, where you can name your price on several items.

As the investigation into possible criminal charges continue, the store owners are raising money to help pay for legal fees to see if they can recoup any of their losses. If you're interested in donating, click here.

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