NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It survived the height of the pandemic despite being new, but now a restaurant in Williamsburg has been broken into multiple times this month.
The community is stepping into help what’s become a neighborhood staple.READ MORE: Gen. Colin Powell Remembered Fondly At His Alma Mater, CCNY, And In The Bronx, Where He Was Raised
Every detail, even the scent pumped in through the AC at Casa Ora was carefully hand-selected by owner Ivo Diaz.
“I think it brings Venezuela back to me,” he told CBS2’s Alice Gainer.
His mother is the executive chef, and his wife is the pastry chef.
“I had a dream of opening fine dining Venezuelan,” Diaz said.
After a first attempt in 2011 failed, the restaurant opened in September 2019. Six months later, the pandemic shut it down.
“Very challenging to stay afloat,” he said.
After a pivot to delivery and extra long days, they got a surprise that summer — Michelin recognition.
“My wife and I cried,” Diaz said.
In September, they got another surprise.
“Cases of avocados missing from the walk in cooler. Huh,” Diaz said.
A look at security cameras showed someone breaking into a side door and stealing 35 pounds of ribs, a phone and an iPad.
“He may be hungry. These are tough times,” Diaz said.
But Diaz says it happened again.READ MORE: Some Play Blame Game As Gas Prices Reach Highest Level In Years, But There's No Dispute It's Impacting Bottom Line For Many Families
He installed another camera.
Early Wednesday morning, there was another break-in. He thinks this time, it was a different person.
“He has a brick in his hand. He rushed back in, grabs the register,” Diaz said.
About $300 in cash was in the register.
The family says they’re now adding one big piece of security they didn’t initially want to have to do.
“We initially didn’t want to have a gate out front because we wanted it to be an open space,” Diaz said.
After posting about the incident online, a local steel company came right over and offered a big break on the price, and the man who built his storefront fixed the glass that day.
Neighbors are stopping by to check on them.
“We come to all the time so it’s sad to see that happen,” Williamsburg resident Mario Aguirre said.
“It touches our heart,” Diaz said.
As for the person or persons responsible, Diaz isn’t angry.
“I don’t blame you. Difficult times … I don’t know what he’s using the money for. I’m hoping it’s because his family needed it,” Diaz said.
He’s also hoping whoever did this can get the same kind of support he’s been shown.
Anyone who recognizes the men in the video is asked to call police. Diaz says they don’t recognize them.MORE NEWS: Scientists, Emergency Planners Conducting Air Flow Study In NYC This Week To Improve Response Protocols
The restaurant has set up a GoFundMe page. Click here to donate.