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Video shows break-in at popular Santee restaurant hit hard by pandemic, tragedy

Posted at 4:43 PM, Dec 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-01 20:44:23-05

SANTEE, Calif. (KGTV) - Surveillace video shows thieves stuffing a car after breaking into a popular Santee restaurant hit hard by the pandemic and a recent tragedy.

Every time restaurant owner Maria Dellarsina looks at the surveillance video she gets anxious.

"All kinds of emotions. I feel angry, and I feel sad," said Dellarsina.

The roller coaster of emotions began after a Thanksgiving morning break-in. The 43-year old Jimmy's Restaurant of Santee was ransacked by thieves. The HVAC access on the roof is the likely entry point.

Video shows three people stuffing items into their car, as they helped themselves to whatever they wanted.

"They took food, liquor, checks, cash, laptop computer, and sports memorabilia," said Dellarsina.

The items stolen were just part of the loss. The thieves also cut the power and left the refrigerators open, so all the food had to be tossed.

"When I saw food going into the trash is when I broke down," said Dellarsina.

The total loss more than $10,000.

The restaurant had to be shut down for a few days, including the day after Thanksgiving, their busiest day of the year.

"One thing after another ... devastation," said Dellarsina.

Beginning in March, restaurant was shut down for months during the pandemic. In May, her husband and co-owner John, passed away from lung cancer.

"I didn't know if I wanted to open again. We did it. I got my strength back to continue his legacy, but it's hard on us.

So far, the pandemic has slashed revenues by more than 60%. The burglary has served up more pain, but Dellarsina vows to continue.

"It's been very rough, but this is not going to stop us," said Dellarsina.

The restaurant is insured, but it's not clear how much will be covered.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crimestoppers at 888-580-8477.