Houston bar and restaurant owners sleep in their establishments to keep thieves out in the middle of the night.
HOUSTON. Houston restaurant and bar owners sleep in their establishments to stop bandits from raiding their liquor shelves and cash registers.
For weeks, thieves broke into their business, stealing thousands of dollars in cash and alcohol, causing significant damage each time.
The owners said they never thought they’d have to spend every night at their gun bars waiting for robbers.
Brilliant karaoke in Midtown throws parties almost every night of the week. But after 2 am, when the music stops and all the singers go home, others break into the bar.
“We’ve been hacked six times already,” said Glitter owner Tod Jones.
Surveillance cameras capture what is happening in the karaoke bar while Jones sleeps at home.
“They come in, grab as many bottles as they can, throw them in a bag, and then they leave,” Jones said. I don’t even want to fix them, because in a few days they will break again.”
Jones estimates that the thieves cost him more than $20,000.
“At this point, you don’t even want to claim it on your insurance,” Jones said. Because you don’t want to lose your insurance. You just have to fix it yourself.”
The weariness in his eyes is from restless nights at the bar, where he now sleeps until dawn to protect his possessions.
“We don’t know what to do anymore,” Jones said. “We can’t do anything. What’s the point of even trying.”
Raul Jacobo opened Cobos Barbecue at EaDo with his wife 18 months ago.
“It’s hard work, but it’s rewarding,” Jacobo said. “Now it’s just a nightmare.”
He also slept in his restaurant and bar every night.
“The bottom line…we are tired,” Jacobo said.
His security cameras show what’s going on.
“So on Tuesday he comes in through the front door,” Jacobo said. Throws a brick at our front glass door. And he’s got a military bag, and he knows exactly where to go, and he scrubs all of our booze out of us.
After being hit twice in less than two weeks in his bar, he was almost unable to leave his business. Instead of sleeping at home with his wife, he sits in his office with a gun.
“If we need to protect our property, if we feel vulnerable or fear for our lives, and we have to do what we have to, it is in the hands of the city,” Jacobo said.
The owners said Houston Police Department officers respond every time a break-in occurs, but so far, nothing has been able to stop the burglaries.
“We are literally one street away from a substation (HPD) and we have a criminal who breaks into a house twice in four days and doesn’t care about any consequences,” Jacobo said.
Jacobo said that there are law enforcement officers in his family and he is a police protector. He said he thought they were doing the best they could. But even the moment when Jones and the bar guard caught the robber with their own hands, could not put an end to the crimes.
“He ran when he saw us, but we caught up with him and detained him,” Jones said. “The police arrived there, he had a bag with all his tools, a ski mask. Then the next thing I know, he came out the next day.”
An HPD spokesperson said detectives are actively investigating multiple bar break-ins and are working with business owners to identify and capture suspects. An HPD spokesman said the department has stepped up patrols in burglary areas during peak hours.