ESTACADA, Ore. (KOIN) — Sherry Andrus bought The Cazadero Steakhouse in Estacada about 18 months ago. On Monday a long-wanted remodeling project was set to begin.
But hours before the bathrooms were going to get a facelift, a burglar broke into the restaurant, ransacked her office and stole one safe plus the contents of another with about $13,000 cash.
The thief was seen on surveillance cameras trying to enter about 5 minutes after the employees left Sunday night — around 11:37 p.m. He tried to get in through a back window but couldn’t and he left.
“He came back about 12:20 a.m.,” Andrus told KOIN 6 News. “Cut all of the lines for the alarm, the phones, the internet for the whole building, then waited for one hour. We didn’t see anything. Then he came back.”
He drilled through the door locks and came in and spotted a small safe used by the staff.
“He realized he couldn’t get it out, so he came back with better tools, got it out and picked it up and left,” Andrus said.
But he wasn’t done. He came back for a second, larger safe.
“Broke into my office and then stayed there for over an hour,” she said. “The whole thing is about 4 hours.”
The thief again drilled a hole, this time into the safe, then broke all the shelves “and pulled them out so that he could go in and get all of the money.”
Andrus said the $13,000 was the total from the 2 safes. About half that money was from customers who paid for a membership to get special perks at The Cazadero. That money was the remodeling money, she said.
She’s been “waiting for the bathroom model for a year-and-a-half,” she said, so the remodeling will somehow go forward.
“I refuse to give this guy any energy from me,” Andrus said. “The restaurant is not a money making business and we live week by week. That money pays for the staff and it’s going to pay for the food.”
Andrus, who also teaches American Sign Language at Portland State University, said owning The Cazadero and giving it new life is her dream.
While she was cleaning her ransacked office, she found a banner she’d forgotten about. “Give thanks,” it said.
And she is giving thanks. The community stepped forward once they heard what happened. They didn’t have enough money to open on Monday, so, she said, people just came in to donate their change to help them operate through the day.
“We had a neighbor who came down and gave me a nice amount of money to be able to open our doors yesterday,” she said. “I was able to pay for the locksmith to come replace and then set up a new alarm system.”
The employees are also helping, said Cazadero General Manager Tiffany Anderson. They’re organizing a fundraiser for the restaurant on November 29, with music from a band donating their time.
“We were in a really good spot,” Anderson said. “We’re not going to let this put us down. We’re just going to keep going and donate our time and just kind of help out, like a community does.”
Andrus hopes insurance will cover at least some of the loss.
“None of my staff were hurt. Nobody was hurt. All they took was money, right? So it just helps me to remember to give thanks. We have a beautiful restaurant, a beautiful Estacada. That’s all I’m going to focus on today is just giving thanks.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.
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