SAN FRANCISCO -- Chinatown boba shop Love Tea on Broadway and Grant Avenue was targeted by different burglars twice in one night in the early-morning hours of March 30.
It is just the latest in a series of troubling crimes the mom-and-pop shop owners have dealt with during the past year.
Surveillance video shows a woman casually walk through a broken glass door into Love Tea cafe just after 4 a.m. She immediately goes to the tip jar then moves around the counter and breaks open the cash register. She helps herself to all the money inside and leaves. The whole heist takes less than two minutes.
About 10 minutes later, another burglar comes in and tries to see what he can take from the register but fails. He does get his hands on electronic tablets for apps like DoorDash and GrubHub.
Then, he makes his way upstairs and swipes a printer, cash and a purse.
"I was feeling really down and I was feeling optimistic when the rain was finally gone and we're going to have a good weekend -- sunny day," said owner Nancy Yu Law. She found her shop's front door completely shattered the next day.
"Oh my goodness, I was shocked and I couldn't open the door, 'cause all the glass is in the way. So I had to crawl in," Yu Law said.
Yu Law's two sons and her husband help her run two small businesses in Chinatown.
She took over the space on Broadway and Grant Avenue during the pandemic in 2021.
She said it has been a rough two years for the family-run business.
Earlier this year, Love Tea was hit by vandals but Yu Law decided it was too expensive to replace the glass windows.
Last summer, she spoke to KPIX after her gift shop Asia Star Fantasy on nearby Grant Avenue was burglarized. Surveillance video showed a burglar sitting on the ground outside the business in the overnight hours. He looked left and right several times before he smashed the glass door.
About 40 minutes later, another camera captured what appeared to be the same suspect communicating with an accomplice in a nearby alley. Soon after, another thief entered the store and grabbed the entire cash register.
That hit set the small business owners back at least $4,000.
"It's just like a big hit to me. This is a really big hit," Yu Law said. "I just don't know what to say. I just feel like I've been unlucky."
Before this latest break-in, Yu Law said she didn't have enough funds for an alarm system but the coalition Be Chinatown stepped up and is helping her pay for one.
"Everybody in the community work like seven days a week and we all hard-working people," Yu Law said. "I hope people come to Chinatown more often, to help the small business out. We need their business and we very welcoming them."
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