A sandwich shop in Richmond was broken into Sunday morning, its glass door shattered and cash register ripped open.
Smokehouse Sandwich Co. owner Rico Verzosa called the incident a “rude awakening” and felt “frustrated and violated” by the break-in at his business on Westminster Highway just west of No. 2 Road.
“This is the last thing I expected to happen, especially now when people know what’s been going on with the food industry,” said Verzosa, adding that he has lived and served in the neighbourhood for the past eight years.
Verzosa told the Richmond News that the restaurant's baker Elmo Bryan Pinpin had arrived at the restaurant to find two holes smashed through the main door and was cautious about entering the shop.
Pinpin reported the incident to the Richmond RCMP and followed their instructions on what to do next, according to Verzosa. Pinpin then called Verzosa afterwards who came in to board up the door.
“I’m just thankful no one was hurt."
The thief had ripped out and taken the register's cash unit as well as money from the tip jar, according to Verzosa.
Surprisingly, he added, the thief did not take or damage other valuables, equipment or the food in the restaurant.
“It was probably someone really desperate,” he said.
Verzosa said there is one good thing that came from the terrifying incident and that was the community support.
“There’s an outpouring of concern and love and we felt that love from the community,” he said.
“I can’t believe how good these people are to us. It’s amazing when … after a tragedy like this and people are still sharing their concerns. It’s so heart-warming and it gives us enough energy and faith to move forward.
“We love serving this community, it’s amazing to feel the love back.”
Meanwhile, a Richmond resident has set up a GoFundMe page to help the store with its costs to repair the damages from the incident.
Debbie Jiang, the organizer of the fundraising page, said she has known Verzosa and his family through homeschooling and visits to their shop.
“This family is generous, gregarious, hard-working and compassionate,” said Jiang,
The Verzosa family, she added, always lends a hand to others if they can and has partnered with the Richmond Baptist Church to help feed those in need.
The GoFundMe page can be found here GoFundMe.com/f/SmokeHouseSandwich
According to the latest crime report from the Richmond RCMP, commercial break-ins seemed to be down in 2021, compared to 2020.
In November, the latest month reported out by police, there were 15 commercial break-ins in Richmond, down 40 per cent from October and also down 40 per cent from November 2020.