San Francisco business owner blames indefinite stay-at-home order for spike in burglaries

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Many San Francisco business owners are hoping city officials will intervene after an increase of burglaries city-wide are causing small businesses to pay for damages during an already tough time.

A popular set of restaurants on the Embarcadero are facing $10,000 in damages after a recent burglary.

"A whole bunch of outdoor heaters that were attached to umbrellas that were vandalized and some of them stolen. At Epic we actually had a break-in," said Pete Sittnick, Managing Partner of Waterbar and Epic Steak.

RELATED: San Francisco businesses boarding up in fear of burglaries during shelter-in-place

Graffiti on their outside wall marks the night they realized their recent burglary will cost them close to thousands of dollars in damages. Another setback to add to the bill.

"We are losing about $50,000 per restaurant per month," said Sittnick.

Epic Steak is not alone. Just a day ago, Amelie, a Wine Bar in Polk Street woke up to a broken gate. Thieves tried to break in.

"That is one of the consequences of the shutdown in the city. It's that nobody is around and it just makes for a deserted town where people get away with whatever," said Sittnick.

RELATED: East Bay restaurant defies outdoor dining ban, pays thousands in fines to help employees
EMBED More News Videos

Each night that Gabe Moufarrej opens his Italian restaurant, Incontro, he knows he faces another $1,000 fine.

The latest data from the San Francisco Police Department shows burglaries in the city have gone up 47% from 2019 to 2020. It's not clear how many of those cases have been businesses.

"Now people are starting to see their insurance premiums go up. As a result of their insurance premiums going up some businesses are just giving up and boarding up their windows," said Sharky Laguana, President of San Francisco Business Commission.

Laguana is urging city officials to take notice and respond before it's too late, "We need to see more state and federal aid comes to small business because from my perspective small businesses are being asked to shoulder the burden of protecting the public health and they are incurring all of the cost of that burden."

After the recent burglary, Epic Steak hired a private security company to watch over their restaurants.

"The money that I have to pay to fix the property damage and to pay the private security is money that I can't pay to bring back one, or two or three more staff members," said Sittnick.

If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus pandemic, submit yours via the form below or here.

Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here

Copyright © 2022 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.