SKOWHEGAN — The former owner of Skowvegas Tattoos on Madison Avenue said this week she closed her business last month after thieves nearly cleaned her out in October.

Christina Hughes, 36, said she vacated the tattoo shop and spa and moved to the waterfront in Bath after someone stole tattooing equipment, appliances and office furniture in October. She said she lost a $600 Autoclave sterilizer, which the state requires each tattoo shop to have. She said she also lost her tattoo chair, tattooing supplies, her computer desk, refrigerator and microwave oven.

Skowhegan Police Chief Michael Emmons said this week detectives are working on the investigation, but he declined to share details. So far, no arrests have been made in that case or in another downtown business burglary earlier this year.

In August, the owners of a kayak and whitewater supply store in the Renaissance Building on Water Street closed a month early after a thieves cut through three doors, cut a padlocked gate and a sheetrock wall and made off with $60,000 in equipment.

Rafting Randy’s Whitewater Supply currently operates from the company’s website and customers can buy gear from their satellite location at Kniffin’s Specialty Meats on U.S. Route 201 in Madison.

Owners Josh Farrand and Naomi Poirier say they hope to have a permanent location open in April and want to return to downtown Skowhegan with a line of four-season sporting gear next year.

Hughes, who continues to live in Skowhegan, opened Sea Side Studios in a former bait and tackle shop on Commercial Street in Bath in early November. She said she is confident police will make an arrest in the theft case.

“I know exactly who did it — I’m just waiting for the cops to do their job so that this person can be prosecuted,” she said. “It’s only a matter of time before we catch them. The investigation is still open. I do believe in God and I do know that the truth always prevails.”

She said believes burglaries and thefts this past year have been committed by people needing money to buys drugs.

“That’s the biggest problem in Skowhegan; it’s the drugs, it’s the pills, especially” she said. “I was so blind to it I didn’t even know. It’s gotten really bad, amongst the kids, too.”

Hughes opened her first store, Northern Leathers, in Skowhegan in 2005. She later added a tattoo artist and changed the name to Skowvegas Tattoos.

She said she does not plan to reopen in Skowhegan.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

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