Nutcracker Market vendor says she lost thousands in thefts

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Kissue owner Kailey McCollum says her booth was robbed twice, resulting in thousands of dollars of lost merchandise. (KTRK)

It was a dream come true for the family owners of Kissue to finally be selected to have a booth at the Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market.

"Our excitement was out of the roof. We were so excited to be here," said owner Kailey McCollum, whose Rice Village storefront was flooded during Harvey. "This was a beacon of hope for us that we can get back on our feet and get things going again."

But after Monday night set up, they returned the next morning to find 26 items ripped off the hangers. That night, they say they secured their booth even tighter and wrapped it as much as they could, only to find almost 20 more items gone Wednesday morning.

"We bought as much inventory as we could and for $5,000 to be missing kind of stabs you in the gut," said McCollum.

VIDEO: What's new at the Nutcracker Market
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Fifty-three of the two hundred eighty vendors are new this year.

A spokesperson for the Nutcracker Market released the following statement:

"We're deeply saddened this happened to one of our cherished merchants. The Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market Security is in place both during the day and overnight. Incidents like this are rare, and it's troubling that someone would steal from merchants who are doing so much to support the Houston community."

They've told vendors they will look at more ways to secure the booths both during the show and after hours. But as for the family-run business, they are taking all the items out at night and bringing them back in the morning to not take any more chances. They say they can't afford any more loss.

"We're helpless unless you give us a lock and a key. How are we supposed to secure it? We did it the best we could," said McCollum.

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The Nutcracker Market is a beloved annual tradition here in Houston.

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