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A Mexican dance studio in Nampa has been vandalized 3 times this week, owner says.

The exterior of Studio Alma Folklorico in Nampa. Owner Monique Michel-Duarte said the space has been vandalized three times this week.
The exterior of Studio Alma Folklorico in Nampa. Owner Monique Michel-Duarte said the space has been vandalized three times this week.

The owner of a well-known Mexican dance studio in Nampa told the Idaho Statesman that her business has been vandalized three times in the past five days.

Monique Michel-Duarte is the owner and director of Ballet Folklorico Mexico Lindo, which specializes in traditional Mexican dance. The studio where practice takes place, Studio Alma Folklorica, is located in the First Street Marketplace in downtown Nampa. The marketplace building is two stories with an attic and contains dozens of businesses, including Messenger Pizza and PreFunk.

Michel-Duarte said she received a call from a fellow business owner Monday morning telling her that the entry to her studio had "been trashed."

Though the actual studio itself had not been broken into, Michel-Duarte said the space outside her door in the building's hallway, which includes pictures hanging on the wall, a small table and chairs, and a clothing donation box, was in disarray.

None of the goods misplaced was all that valuable, Michel-Duarte said, and had been purchased at "thrift stores and yard sales."

"Everything was everywhere," she said. “The chairs were knocked over, the pictures weren't on the wall, they stole the magazines and they stole the books (on the table) … it looked like when someone takes their arm and just sweeps it across.”

In addition to the damage, a sign hanging near her studio's windows that read, "For dance patrons only," was missing. She later found the framed sign on the ground, though its glass was missing. On Wednesday, she said, the pictures and tables were knocked over once again, and the shattered glass from the frame was sitting on a chair.

At that point, Michel-Duarte said she decided to move all of her furniture and decorations inside her office; all that remained outside were the thumbtacks on the walls. When she arrived Thursday, even the thumbtacks were gone, she said. Also out of place was a sticker on her door for electronic payment options; it had been moved and put on the nearby massage studio's door.

"As a business owner, I start to feel concerned whenever there's a rash of break-ins," said Amanda Rich, owner of Indian Creek Therapeutics. "I want my business to be inclusive and welcoming for everybody, and I don't want people to feel threatened."

Michel-Duarte said she is unsure of the vandal or vandals' intentions, though she worries there could be a message being sent.

"I don't know who they are or what their motive is, and I think that's what's most concerning to me," she said.

Michel-Duarte said she filed a report with the Nampa Police Department on Thursday.

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