Numerous such incident occurring in the LA-area
By Dolores Quintana
In recent weeks, there have been several incidents of vandalism at Los Angeles restaurants, including at Santa Monica eateries, as reported by the LA Times.
According to the Times, neither the LAPD or the SMPD spokespersons said that there is a large or worsening trend of this kind of property damage. Jeremy Fox, who is chef and co-owner of two restaurants in Santa Monica, has said that his establishments have been vandalized and windows were smashed just after Thanksgiving. In the incident at Tallula’s, Fox said, as quoted by the LA Times, that he and his workers “know what happened with Tallula’s’ ‘ and that the two incidents are not related, but refused to expand on that statement. Fox added, as quoted by the LA Times, “It’s not a common thing; we don’t have vandalism often. It’s never a good time, but right now, our margins are slim. Our time is not best spent repairing something that shouldn’t have to be repaired. It’s pulling focus away from what we want to be focusing on, which is making people happy and being a restaurant.” This speaks to the fact that most restaurants are not running their business at a pre-pandemic level of larger profit, so any expense hits them harder. Fox said that the window at Birdie G’s is likely to cost $1,500 to repair because of the window’s custom tint and the double pane. There is security camera footage of the vandal at Birdie G’s, it shows a masked individual throwing the rock at the window on Nov. 27 at 5:10 a.m. The vandal did not attempt to enter the store and walked away. It would seem that damage was the point and not robbery. The broken window was found around 7:00 a.m. by a restaurant porter.
Fox noted that when he posted on Instagram about the vandalism, some of the responses implied that it was a “punishment for the vaccine mandate,” in a quote from the LA Times article. Comments such as these overlook the fact that Fox, a small business owner, is not responsible for the vaccine mandate and the fact that his business must follow the law or risk strict financial penalties which would create further expenses that could do grave harm to his businesses. Police reports were filed on both incidents.
Ayara Thai Cuisine in Westchester was also the site of a burglary and vandalism on Nov. 23. This is a seasonal robbery that happens so often, Vanda Asapahu, who spoke to the LA Times and said that the annual robbery is something that she adds to her operating budget each year. A masked and hooded burglar, who they suspect is male, flung a rock through the front glass window and then smashed the rest of the window with his foot at 5:06 a.m. The burglar then stole thirty dollars in coins, $100 that was hidden in a filing cabinet and two bottles of the restaurant’s Thai iced tea. This was all the robber could find since the owners don’t keep money in the restaurant after hours and most customers pay with debit or credit cards these days. The smashed glass was discovered by someone in the neighborhood around 6:00 a.m. Vanda Asapahu, who owns and operates the Ayara Thai with her family, was more concerned about the safety of her employees than the robbery itself and said, as quoted by the LA Times, “It could have been much worse. No one was hurt, nothing was really taken. It’s just part of the business. It’s sad to think of it like that, but you kind of have to move on. If you dwell on it for too long, there’s nothing that you can bring back, and you lose time.” This robbery normally happens during the holiday season, usually between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Vanda Asapahu called the LAPD non-emergency line to report the incident but was unable to reach anyone after reviewing the damage and security camera footage.