Series of burglaries target West Philly eateries
Victims include Lil’ Pop Shop, Rx the Farmacy, and Pho and Cafe Saigon
September 11, 2013, 8:11 pm · Updated September 11, 2013, 9:45 pm·
A string of burglaries have hit local West Philadelphia restaurants in the past few weeks. No arrests have been made so far.
The first reported burglary was at the Vietnamese restaurant Pho and Cafe Saigon at 43rd and Spruce streets on Aug. 26th. An employee at Pho and Cafe Saigon explained that the burglar first tried to use a heavy rock to break through the reinforced front door, which failed. He then hurled the rock through the restaurant’s side window, knocking over plants and tables, and tried to steal the whole cash register. When this failed, he pulled out the bottom drawer and left. The police said the amount stolen was $50.
The following day, there was a similar burglary at the eatery Rx the Farmacy at 45th and Spruce streets, where the glass front door was broken in. The suspect took the whole cash register, which had a total estimated value of $200, according to the police.
Both restaurants have replaced the broken glass and continued to conduct business since then. The burglaries are still under investigation.
On the night of Sept. 4, money was stolen from the Lil’ Pop Shop near 44th and Spruce Streets. Owner Jeanne Chang said that there was no sign of breaking and entering, which leads her to believe that the person responsible was an employee.
The burglaries occurred within three blocks of one another and only a total of eleven days apart, with the closest store only three blocks from campus.
The co-owners of Cafe Renata near 43rd and Locust Streets said the store was the subject of an attempted burglary about three weeks ago, right when the string of burglaries began. They say that somebody tried to break through the bottom half of the reinforced door, which failed. The cafe has since fixed up the door and conducted business as usual.
Owners and employees agree that it is important to be careful in this neighborhood.
“We’ve always been cautious. It’s West Philly,” said the co-owner of Cafe Renata, Kate. They have cameras inside the store and are wary of leaving phones out and the tip jar full.
An employee from Pho and Cafe Saigon said, “I’ve been here 10 years. This is the third time this has happened.” The restaurant moved some of its day sales to a safer location in case of incidents such as this one.
Workers at the new Ramen Bar on the 4000 block of Locust said they had not heard about these burglaries or been the subject of any. “Sounds like they’re targeting smaller eating establishments than ours,” said one employee.
The Philadelphia Police Department has yet to respond to requests for details regarding these incidents.