HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Justin and Brandon Piper own three restaurants in Houston Heights. All of them have been hit by criminals, most recently early Monday morning on Memorial Day.
Thieves smashed through a window, used a grinder to break locks, and stole a safe with at least $5,000.
"The crime is outrageous," Justin told ABC13.
Justin is the co-owner of Preslee's. He also owns a new burger restaurant a mile away.
"We currently got it open this past Friday," Piper said. "That Friday night, we got hit again."
That's two burglaries in two days, and not long ago, their unopened cantina was robbed of $80,000 worth of restaurant equipment.
"We're at the mercy of every criminal on the street," Justin said. "Every single night. It's not if, it's when again."
It's not like they don't have security. At Preslee's, all of the doors are double deadbolted, they have 16 cameras and a monitored alarm system. There was a tracker in the safe, but they said by the time police responded, they found the safe broken and its contents gone.
Justin said he is so fed up, he can no longer take cash at any of his establishments.
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"That might deter them," he explained. "They might still try to break in to find a safe, but if they don't find a safe this time, they might not come next time."
The Pipers have been publicly critical of Democratic politicians in the past. In this case, they're blaming county and city leaders for the crime.
We reached out to both the city and county officials, who have both offered statements.
A county spokesperson released the following statement:
"We share this business owner's concern about the tragic 'gundemic' the gun lobby is fueling across the nation, including Harris County. At the same time we are also grateful to have the space in this story to point out that this year, Lina Hidalgo and the commissioners court allocated more funding for public safety in the entire history of Harris County, $1.4 billion, which includes money for 400 more police cars, pay raises for police, and other anti-crime programs."
A city spokesperson gave the following statement:
"It is unfortunate the business owner has experienced break-ins at their establishment. The city encourages the owner to work with the Houston Police Department, which is committed to reducing crime. Crime, in most violent crime categories, is down from where we were a year ago across the city, and the percentage of homicides has dropped dramatically from where we were in January of this year in comparison to last year."
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The Pipers, who shared video from a March break-in, know police are trying their best, but they said they are not alone in their frustration as business owners. They think criminals, once caught, should face consequences.
"There is no penalty," Justin said. "There is no consequence to action anymore."
They are offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for their most recent burglary and theft.
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