LIC restaurants targeted during crime spree

By Bill Parry

An emergency town tall meeting was scheduled for next week to discuss the recent rash of restaurant burglaries that have struck Long Island City in the last month.

LIC Eateries, a group of area restaurant owners, have scheduled the session at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Manducatis Rustica, at 46-33 Vernon Blvd., and it is open to the public.

“It’s been pretty scary around here, so we wanted to meet with the 108th Precinct about it,” Rebecca Trent, the group’s founder said. Deputy Inspector Brian Hennessy and his staff from the 108th will attend, she said.

Manducatis Rustica was one of five restaurants that was broken into between June 11 and July 4, according to the NYPD. The thief throws a brick through the front or side window to enter the establishments, police say. There have been no arrests and the investigation continues.

Gianna Cerbone Teoli, owner of Manducatis Rustica, did not want to discuss details of the break-in at her place June 22.

“I’m just very dismayed about the whole thing,” she said.

In that incident, the suspect took two iPads, two iPad Minis and $700 in cash, according to the NYPD.

“Stealing from Manducatis is like stealing from your neighbor and taking food out of their children’s mouth,” Trent said. “That’s the thing about the restaurants that were hit. They’re all mom-and-pop establishments, not high-volume restaurants like Applebee’s or TGIFridays — these are neighborhood places, not million-dollar venues.”

Woodbines, at 47-10 Vernon Blvd., was broken into June 25 and a Galaxy 10 electronic tablet and $100 were taken. Seattle Cafe, at 32-02 Queens Blvd., was broken into June 30 and $850 was pilfered from two registers.

Andres Pizza, at 25-19 40th Ave., was broken into June 11. The suspect took a register with $20 inside.

“It’s weird to me. I find the amount of stuff taken in some of these break-ins is pretty negligible,” Trent said.

On July 4, the suspect broke through the side window at LIC Bar, at 45-58 Vernon Blvd. The suspect was inside the bar at 4:30 a.m. when a porter arrived to begin his shift.

“The porter startled the suspect, who hid in the basement for a time looking for an escape,” owner Brian Porter said. “Then he came back upstairs, my employee saw him from a distance and backed off afraid there were others inside. The suspect jumped back through the window he broke and fled down 46th Avenue.”

There has not been another break-in at LIC Bar but the owner is not taking any chances.

“I’m going to have to put in security gates now,” Porter said. “It’s really a shame because that was one of the charms along Vernon Boulevard, Folks didn’t need security gates before.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718.260.4538.

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