Greenpoint Gazette

Burglary for Breakfast at Papacitos

BY Juliet Linderman

Unfortunately for Cody Utzman, the owner of Papacitos Mexican eatery on Manhattan Avenue and Greene Street, brunch wasn’t the only thing on the menu last Sunday. When Utzman showed up to open his restaurant, he discovered that it had been brutally burglarized—the windows were smashed, the doors damaged, the cash registers destroyed and $10,000 missing, along with the safe deposit box in which it was being stored on the premises.
“We came in on Sunday Morning, and they had come in through the back alleyway,” Utzman said. “We had a safe on the premises and there was a large amount of money—around $10,000—that was stolen. They weren’t able to open the safe, so they took it with them. It’s pretty crazy; the safe is 250 pounds, and they had to go back over the roof.”
Along with the cash—and the safe—the restaurant sustained nearly $3,000 in damages, and several employees’ personal belongings were stolen. Utzman said that he has heard similar stories recently, but has never had anything like this happen to him before: He has owned several restaurants in Greenpoint over the years, including Brooklyn Label and Brooklyn Standard. He accredits the increase in crime in Greenpoint/Williamsburg to the shifting demographics, explaining that “there are so many new residents living here, and there’s a sense that it’s safe, but it’s still Brooklyn and there’s still crime. There’s more opportunity for crime, and that’s all a criminal needs.”
$10,000, and all the trouble of filing police reports, is definitely a set-back for Papacito’s. However, Utzman isn’t too concerned about bouncing back.
“I definitely feel worse off for the person who had to steal,” he said. “I’m trying to have a good attitude, and as long as our customers support us, we’ll be fine. I don’t have to go to bed thinking I did anything wrong—I work hard for my money.”

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