HOUSTON – Sweet Cup Gelato is a Houston brand that’s developed a loyal customer base in the last few years.
But it seems thieves can’t get enough of it either. The Montrose store has been hit almost a dozen times in two years.
It began about 7 years ago when Jasmine Chida took a vacation to Italy and fell in love with gelato.
She came home and started cooking it in her kitchen. That grew into a business that now includes two shops, 18 employees, and contracts with major retailers like Whole Foods and Central Market. To sell her Sweet Cup brand.
“I had a passion for it and I loved it. I wanted to see that come to life,” she says
It never occurred to her that her shop at 3939 Montrose Blvd. would become a magnet for thieves.
It’s been robbed twice and burglarized 9 times since 2017 -- 7 of those burglaries committed in the last year.
In one of the robberies, the thieves managed to get her safe out of the store, but no farther.
“They dropped the safe in the middle of the parking lot. They couldn’t carry it so they left it there,” Chida said.
But they kept coming back. Same guys. Almost always on Sunday night or Monday morning.
“Every Sunday night I go to sleep and I’m like, ‘God I hope nobody breaks in Monday morning.’ And that’s my fear and it happens all the time.” she said.
True to form, burglars returned early Monday morning and outdid themselves, one of them managing to break out a window barely bigger than a shoe box and squeeze through.
“I don’t think I can fit my head in that,” Chida said.
She figures the burglaries have cost her about $20,000 so far. A lot of money for a small startup.
And while police have beefed up patrols, they still have no leads or suspects.
“This is just getting way out of hand. It’s just way too much. And we’re just losing all the resources and hope there needs to be.” she says.
Other shops in the strip center have been hit too. Houston police have beefed up patrols, but still haven’t developed any leads or suspects.
The police are asking anyone with information to call CrimeStoppers. They are offering a reward of up to $5000.