At least two more Long Beach restaurants were broken into early Thursday morning, adding to a growing list of local businesses affected by a recent string of commercial burglaries in the city.
Marc Chitwood, the co-owner of Steel Cup Café in East Long Beach, said he got a phone call at around 5:15 a.m. alerting him that someone had broken into his business.
Surveillance video shared by Chitwood with the Post shows the person running past Steel Cup Café at around 3:44 a.m. before returning and breaking one of the doors. Once inside, the person heads took the cash register and ran off.
The total loss, Chitwood said, was about $100, in addition to the cost of a new point of sale system and replacing the glass, which could end up costing him another several hundred dollars.
“It’s not only the denomination of just paying for everything and getting on your feet,” Chitwood said. “You don’t feel safe. You feel violated.”
Steel Cup Café opened in 2019 and is part of a “tight-knit community” of businesses located in a plaza just north of the Traffic Circle. This is the first time Steel Cup Café has been broken into, Chitwood said, but other businesses haven’t been so lucky.
Next to Steel Cup Café, LW Pizza owner Jack Taba is trying to keep his spirits high after also being broken into this morning.
“I’m feeling bad,” Taba said while pointing to the spot that was decorated with shattered glass early in the day. “It’s destroyed.”
According to Taba, this is the second time in the last five years that his business was broken into. This time, the person who broke in got away with about $200 that was left overnight in the register, Taba said.
Despite having to deal with the aftermath of the crime, both businesses opened Thursday.
“Our community will rally around us,” Chitwood said, adding that his main concern was providing a safe environment for both his employees and customers.
Data shows that property crime rose 7.6% last year compared to 2021, accounting for nearly 84% of all reported crime. Commercial burglaries also increased 26.3% compared to 2021.
Meanwhile, owners like Chitwood and Taba are left wondering what more they can do to prevent their businesses from being struck again.
“What is there to do?” Chitwood said. “Who do we have to talk to in the city to get this taken care of?”
Police have said they’re currently pursuing all leads but have not yet identified any particular suspect or suspects as being responsible for all the incidents.