Suspects on the run after 2 businesses in The Heights burglarized within an hour of each other

Sunday, December 19, 2021
2 businesses in The Heights burglarized within an hour of each other
It is still unclear if the burglaries are connected, but Houston police have requested surveillance video to compare.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- At least two businesses in The Heights said their shops were burglarized within an hour of each other.

Thomas Soula, the co-owner of Roast and Brew Café, said it was some time after 6 a.m. Saturday morning when he saw the front door of the shop shattered. When he walked through the newly opened coffee shop, he realized it had been burglarized.

"They broke our door," Soula said, "They steal our register, iPads and laptops."

Soula said they were able to clean and replace the door. He said the Houston police officer who took the report later returned and said another business had been burglarized.

It is still unclear if the burglaries are connected, but Houston police requested surveillance video to compare.

Down the street on E 20th Street, the security alarm at Central City Co-Op went off at about 7:10 a.m.

A witness nearby said they heard a loud noise and recorded a video of two suspects leaving the shop in a black SUV.

"We really just work for the community," said Jessica Wilt Navas, the executive director of Central City Co-Op. "It's really devastating to have that kind of loss."

Navas said shelves filled with product were damaged and the cash register was cleared out.

"It will probably be in the tens of thousands of dollars because it's inventory," Navas said. "It was the shelving system. It's trying to figure out what it will cost our makers to make some of those things. They're seasonal, so things that were jarred a couple months ago. They can't make this year, and we're going to have to figure that out."

Central City Co-Op functions much like a community pantry, where the community can buy organic food and products from more than 90 local businesses and farmers.

"We support local farmers, local ranchers, local purveyors of goods," Navas said. "We really kept them going during this pandemic."

This comes at a time when many small businesses are struggling to stay afloat due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the impact to the supply chain, inflation and the increasing cost of rent or leases.

"Unfortunately, this happened when there's a lot of difficult change going on," Navas said. "I think it's really important to work together as a community. We've seen it in disaster, in times of disaster and this co-op exists to help support those businesses. It's hard to have a store front, and this store front makes it possible for so many families to survive."

Both Navas and Soula said the best way to help local businesses is to shop at their stores or online and keep supporting small businesses.

A fundraiser was set up to help restock and restore the Central City Co-Op.

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