SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) -- Several restaurants and small businesses in the South Bay say they have recently been targeted by thieves trying to take advantage of the COVID-19 shelter-in-place order.
"They walked out with kind of the heart of the restaurant as far as the financial aspect of it. It's your monetary income," said Dan Holder, owner of Jack Holder's Restaurant and Bar in San Jose's Cambrian neighborhood.
Holder said his employees arrived Sunday morning and discovered that someone had smashed out a window on the side of the business and stolen several tablets and other items.
"The immediate reaction was, 'You've got to be kidding.' You come into work on Sunday morning knowing that some lowlife has broken into your place of business and stolen valued possessions from you," said Holder.
He said the break-in was especially painful because just two days prior he'd organized a meal giveaway for police officers, firefighters and other first responders in San Jose.
And sadly, Jack Holder's Restaurant wasn't alone. Another neighboring business, West Coast Beef Company, was the victim of a similar robbery a few weeks earlier. The thieves managed to steal the cash register and a safe during the earlier break-in.
"Another horrible part to the story with the shelter-in-place order is that small businesses are really being left out on a limb and now being victimized," said West Coast Beef Company owner John Ladas.
Ladas said the owner of the shopping center has agreed to step up security patrols especially during the overnight hours.
The San Jose Police Department told KPIX 5 it still has the full number of officers on the street during the shelter-in-place order and will aggressively investigate reports of break-ins. Detectives were able to recover some of the items stolen during the break-in at Jack Holder's.
"They were able to actually find my DoorDash tablet," Holder said, referring to a tablet used for to-go orders for the DoorDash app -- an essential part of the restaurant's business during the lockdown.
Luckily, the tablet was undamaged and is back in operation at the restaurant. Some small business owners told KPIX 5 they would like authorities to consider -- at the very least -- tougher penalties for those arrested in connection with break-ins and burglaries during the current coronavirus shelter in place order.
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