The Woodward News

Local News

August 29, 2013

Vandals, burglars strike businesses

Woodward, Okla. — Several local businesses received hundreds of dollars in damage after being hit in a recent string of vandalisms and burglaries.

The businesses include a number of restaurants as well as other stores including a hardware store and grocery store.

The News spoke with the owners of JB's Steakhouse, Ramiro's Mexican Restaurant and Dairy Queen about these recent events.

Kenny Vassar, owner of Dairy Queen, said that overnight on Aug. 19 a trio of male subjects were seen damaging the metal tables and chairs on the patio in front of his restaurant as well as damaging trash cans at Dairy Queen and elsewhere along Main St.

"What they done was tore up one of my trash cans which is concrete with the Dairy Queen logo on it.  Then they tipped the table and chairs over and bent the legs on them and kicked the seats out of the chairs," Vassar said.

He said the damage to those items "probably cost close to $1,000."

"I'm just surprised with the way it seems like they were tossing things around that none of it went through one of my windows," Vassar said.

There was no damage to the inside of the Dairy Queen and no evidence of the vandals attempting to steal anything from the store, he said.

Chris Riffel, of JB's Steakhouse, said his business was burglarized around 3:45 a.m. on Aug. 20.  He said the burglar began by cutting the restaurant's phone lines and then proceeded to "jimmy in the back door, which was dead bolted even."

Once inside the kitchen area, Riffel said the store's security cameras picked up the burglar's activities as he first tried to disable one camera and then proceeded to go through the restaurant "looking for money."

"The only cash we had here was $1 that was left on a desk," he said.

After swiping the dollar bill, Riffel said the subject is seen damaging 2 computers.  He said he believes the burglar did this in an attempt to "strip the hard drives to our computers, thinking he was destroying our security camera footage."

However, the camera recordings remained in tact for Riffel to later share with the police.

Altogether from the "2 computers that were torn apart" to having to replace the oversized metal door in the back, which was "a $600 to $800 door,"  to repairing the cut phone lines, Riffel said the burglar caused "probably over $2,000 in damages."

Ramiro Gutierrez, owner of Ramiro's Mexican Restaurant, said the damage was less extensive at his restaurant and that's one thing he is thankful for.

Gutierrez said he learned of the burglary when "we got a police call at about 2 in the morning" on Tuesday after the alarm at his restaurant was set off.

In reviewing the footage from his own security cameras, Gutierrez said he learned that the burglar first switched off the breakers to his walk-in cooler in the back of the restaurant, possibly believing the breakers to be instead connected to the security system.

After shutting off the cooler, he said the burglar broke a back window to gain entry to the restaurant, he then stole the restaurant's cash register.

During the burglary, Gutierrez said the subject also damaged a security sensor on one of the doors at the restaurant.  Between $200 to $300 for the broken window, another $300 for the register and an additional $300 to $400 to repair the alarm system, he said the burglar caused "for all the damages, about $1,000 altogether."

However, he said the would-be thief could have done much more.

"I was worried he broke other things around my place because I've worked so hard over the years to get it the way I have it," Gutierrez said of the many special decorations and renovations he has made to the restaurant to give it a unique and colorful atmosphere.

Other businesses reporting damage from recent burglaries, attempted burglaries and/or vandalisms, according to Woodward Police Department call logs, included China King which had a window busted out on Aug. 21; and Maraca's Mexican Restaurant and Locke Supply which each had a window broken out on Tuesday morning.  The call logs also list an alarm at Westgate United Supermarket and even a broken window at the Faith United Methodist Church.

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