CHICAGO (CBS) — Two family-owned south suburban restaurants are trying to recover after they were both burglarized early Wednesday morning.
Just before 3 a.m., two burglars used a brick to break the glass door at Taqueria Durango in Blue Island. By 4 a.m., the same thieves hit El Gallo Tapatio, another Mexican restaurant in Alsip just four miles away.
Outside surveillance shows the burglars breaking the window. Glass shattered all over the floor as the thieves rushed inside. Another camera recorded as the criminals tried grabbing the cash register, later leaving with a toolbox carrying $150 in cash.
El Gallo Tapatio general manager Maria Ramos said the restaurant’s been a part of the Alsip community for 25 years. She says the family-owned eatery can’t afford losses like this.
“Every little thing that they take hurts you, because you work hard for it, and they just want to go the easy way,” Ramos said.
An hour before the burglary in Alsip, cameras captured one of the criminals ripping the register off the counter at Taqueria Durango. The thief smashed it against the ground to get it open while the other found the key to the second cash drawer.
Alejandra Meraz’s father opened the restaurant when she was just 1 year old. More than 20 years later, they’ve grown considerably, but this burglary is a big setback.
“My dad was the one that was really upset. He’s been working hard to keep this place running,” said Meraz, who’s now a general manager.
The thieves didn’t just steal cash and break glass, but also ruined the restaurant’s point of sale system.
“We also had to close for the whole day, so we lost out on a lot,” Meraz said.
She estimates they are out over $3,000 after adding up repairs and lost business.
As detectives in both Alsip and Blue Island search for suspects, Taqueria Durango is considering putting up steel curtains to keep criminals out.