By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News
The Pak Mail in Steiner Ranch was vandalized a month ago when the name “Ben” was burned into the rug, more burn marks were found on the carpet, trash was thrown around, and it appeared there was urine on one wall, according to shop owners, Michael and Irina Belov.
There have been no new incidents since then and they also have collected names of those involved in the vandalism, Irina said.
Since then also a new camera was installed at the shop and the Travis County Sheriff’s Office has increase patrolling at the shopping center — both have helped to keep the Belov’s minds at peace.
The vandalism took place in either late Jan. 31 or early Feb. 1.
“Basically we came in on Saturday (Feb. 1) and it was smokey inside. By message board, (they) burned over next to mailboxes,” said Michael, who is originally from Kazakhstan.
“Saturday morning ashes were out the door, on the carpet,” said Irina, who is originally from Ukraine.
The shipping and mail business at 2900 N Quinlan Park Rd #240 has a separated space in the front of the shop that is open for mailbox customers at all times.
“Police say it’s federal offense next to mailboxes,” Michael said. He added that Travis County Sheriff’s created a case on the incident. He thinks it was likely middle school boys.
The Belovs posted a note by the door on Feb. 1 that reads “ Dear Steiner Ranch Community, mailbox customers and guests! Please, if you see any teenagers inside, call 911. Police already have report in place. They almost burn a whole plaza, starting a fire inside a Pak Mail… Please let’s stop them together and get them to jail. Where they belong! Thank you. Call 911 for any suspicious activities in plaza after dark!”
The Belovs started running Pak Mail in 2010, just a couple of months after moving from California to the Steiner Ranch area with their son and daughter. Prior to that, they lived in Israel. After college, they were married in Ukraine 30 years ago.
Now after 10 years as local business owners, they have never experienced vandalism like last month.
“Now we have camera,” said Michael, adding that TCSO also said they would patrol the shopping center more at night too. “We want to raise awareness.”