Small businesses in The Heights area calling for more patrol after string of thefts

Multiple business owners say their shops have been hit more than 4 times

HOUSTON – In The Heights area, multiple small businesses are voicing their concern over what appears to be a consistent trend of break-ins, costing businesses thousands in repairs or lost products.

Just Wednesday early morning, Houston police said there were three break-ins at three different businesses along the street. Now, business owners are asking for more patrol.

Businesses on W 19 street are no stranger to customers. Many said they come specifically to support the small businesses that open up shop in an area known for local commerce.

However, several small business owners and managers are also voicing concern over the growing number of burglaries and robberies in the area.

“Twice we’ve been broken into, but we’ve been robbed quite a few times,” Amsterdam Co. Coffeehouse Manager Sofia Armintor said.

Overnight early Wednesday morning, surveillance videos show a man smashing a glass door and entering the coffee shop. The store owners said the thief ultimately caused more than $5,000 worth of damages and stolen goods.

“It’s frustrating. All of the small businesses here have wanted to pull together,” Armintor said.

Just down the block, another break-in around the same timeframe happened.

Thomas Soula opened Roast & Brew with his best friend a year and a half ago. Moving to the United States 8 years ago, Soula worked hard to make his dream come true.

“We see our sweat working,” Soula said. “It takes a little time, but nothing comes easy.”

Wednesday around 2 a.m., a man with a crowbar can be seen breaking Roast & Brew’s door.

“They took the register, but there’s nothing in there,” Soula said.

That’s because it’s the fifth time Roast & Brew has been broken into in the one and a half years it has been open.

It’s the third break in this year alone. Many shops, Armintor said, have gone cashless as well because of the repeated break-ins.

The thief at Roast & Brew on Wednesday wrecked the office, stole the security system, and broke the door, costing thousands of dollars worth of damage.

HPD said another business was hit by thieves early Wednesday morning just a few blocks down in the 1400 block of W. 19 Street.

Soula said he was told there were several altogether.

“Five or six for sure,” Soula said.

Armintor said, in the Heights area, there are many customers who love the shops however these stores are now having to figure out how to keep dealing with these situations.

“We’re just going to have to scramble a little bit and figure out where the extra money is going to come from,” Armintor said.

“We need more police around,” Soula said. “When police drive the area, it makes people feel more safe.”

Armintor said she is frustrated by what they’ve been told by police.

“They always say there’s really nothing they can do,” Armintor said. “I hope they just recognize that this is a pretty big problem not just for us but all the businesses in the area.”

Armintor said she and other local managers believe more should be done.