Jim Blackburn owns the Decatur Shoe Repair on Fourth Avenue and says someone stole thousands of dollars worth of equipment from him over the weekend.
“I love this job because I love people, and I’ve always considered myself a public servant," Blackburn said.
Blackburn is 82 years old and has been repairing and shining shoes for about 68 of those years.
So, when he found out at least $4,000 worth of equipment he uses for his business was stolen, he was upset.
“It’s almost unbelievable, some of the machines they took, how heavy they were," Blackburn said. "I would say they’re professional at what they do.”
Blackburn says this time of year is his busiest, with Christmas coming up, but he’s thankful his customers have been so supportive.
“People understand some stuff will have to be put on hold," he said.
WAAY 31 talked with one of those customers who had nothing but good things to say about Blackburn, and he says he hopes the equipment will be returned.
“These guys who stole it, they need to bring it back to him, because he works hard for a living, and he needs his stuff,” said Carl Sanford.
And while Blackburn’s business may be affected, he says he forgives those responsible.
“They’ll still be in my prayers day and night. I pray to God they’ll have a change of attitude," he said. "It’s not up to me to judge them or to condemn them. It’s up to me to forgive them.”
And he isn’t giving up on his business either. In fact, Blackburn says he hopes he’s able to continue working until he’s 100 years old.
“I want my customers to know that I’m not going anywhere. I’ll still be here," he said. "After 68 years, you just don’t walk away from something.”
Blackburn told WAAY 31 he didn’t have any surveillance video of the theft, but he did file a police report. If you saw anything or know who’s responsible for the crime, you're asked to call the Decatur Police Department.
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