Cafe robbery leaves bitterness

October 18, 2002 12:00 am
Israel Gonzales works in the kitchen at the Park City Cafe. The small restaurant has been hit by burglars twice in recent months, and Gonzales and his wife say they wish police could do more to stop the crimes. (Stephen M. Corley/ The Daily Triplicate).
Israel Gonzales works in the kitchen at the Park City Cafe. The small restaurant has been hit by burglars twice in recent months, and Gonzales and his wife say they wish police could do more to stop the crimes. (Stephen M. Corley/ The Daily Triplicate).

By Jennifer Henion

Triplicate staff writer

Last Saturday, the front door of the Park City Cafe was broken down by burglars for the second time in five months.

More frustrating than that, say the young couple who own it, is that a deputy of the Del Norte County Sheriff's Department said it wasn't worth the time and energy to investigate it.

In hopes that the sheriff's office and the public will take the incident more seriously, owners Julie and Israel Gonzales are leaving the damage unfixed and the debris on the floor.

"It's weird when you come in, you have to use the back door, but I want people to see what's not worth investigating in their community, because I think it is," said Julie Gonzales.

The couple are now considering giving up their lease and leaving town.

Still reeling from the invasion, the Gonzales' have not had the wherewithal to keep the little restaurant open as many hours as they usually do, but have managed to serve a lunch here and there.

"It's rough to say we'll be open tomorrow, but we're going to try. There's just no trust left, we're still in shock," she said.

The Gonzales' were reluctant to say what was stolen and how much the damaged door and inside will cost, emphasizing that cost is not the point.

The two theorize that someone in the neighborhood of Howland Hill and Elk Valley roads knows who committed the crime, but is afraid to say.

By leaving the damage as it is, they hope eventually, information about the burglary will spread through the community and back to them.

Having been burglarized twice and their neighbors having experienced similar incidents, the Gonzales' said they feel too many small crimes get overlooked and unreported, perpetuating the notion in criminals that they can keep getting away with it.

"This community is too good to get used to getting robbed from their neighbors. I hope people start speaking up and maybe the Sheriff's Department can come out and tell us what we can do to help them," Julie Gonzales said.

To that end, she is now talking with her neighbors to set up a neighborhood watch, although they are contemplating leaving.

"We are two young people that started a business because we wanted to contribute something to society, but we started with nothing.

"We don't have the money to fix this door and this window again," she said.

Though the couple say there is no investigation, Sheriff's Commander Tony Luis said the responding officer did take a report and that the area was canvassed in search of the criminals.

Luis also said there is always an investigation following such a crime.

"When you take a report it goes through the superintendent who reviews it and it will go on to detectives for a follow-up if they haven't solved it," Luis said.

Still, the Gonzales' said the deputy did not give them any hope that anything would be done.

Luis said he will personally contact that deputy to determine what was said and whether corrective action needs to be taken.