HOUSTON - Business owners who are already hurting in this COVID19 crisis have now fallen victim to thieves after a string of break-ins in the Heights.
Security cameras caught the burglars breaking in. Now the shop owners hope showing the video will help police catch the thieves.
In the footage you see two men rummaging through Blackbird Izakaya early Sunday morning. It’s a restaurant that has already laid off most of its staff and lost more than 80% of its business since the start of the pandemic.
"It’s very disheartening. Everybody, especially in the restaurant business, we’re all kind of struggling to keep ourselves afloat,” explains Blackbird Izakaya Owner Billy Kin.
Right next door the thieves also hit Revolucion Coffee and Juice where sales plunged 91% the first week of the COVID-19 quarantine in March and things haven’t picked up much since. Now in addition to replacing this smashed-in window, they also lost their computer and company safe to the thieves.
"They got our cash box. We don’t leave much on hand because this is the fourth time that we’ve gotten broken into. We’ve been open four years. It didn’t happen the first two and it’s happened twice since January,” explains Monika Tilley Co-Owner of Revolucion Coffee & Juice.
Kin has been open for two years and also broken into four times. "We stopped taking cash as a form of payment. So we don’t keep anything in our safe”.
This latest break-in happened on Mother’s Day. "It was also my birthday. So that wasn’t fun,” says Tilley and it won’t be easy or inexpensive to now replace the windows busted by the burglars.
“They actually broke one of our largest glass panels. It’ll be about a thousand dollars to fix,” says Kin.
"I mean we do have insurance but there are deductibles,” adds Tilley.
"We did share our surveillance footage with the police department because they said a couple other establishments did not have footage. So hopefully that’ll help,” Kin says.