Harlingen restaurant vandalized three times in six weeks, no suspects yet

Local News

HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) —One restaurant in Harlingen boarded up their windows, not because they are closed, but the owners say because in the last month the windows have been broken three times.

“I just thought ‘oh my goodness’ 20 years we’ve had a hand full of burglaries and vandalism but never to that extent,” said Jeanie Diaz, owner of Panchito’s Mexican Restaurant.

Diaz said that someone seems to be breaking their windows when it is a holiday.

“Easter Sunday was the very first time that we found out that we were vandalized,” said Diaz. “It did not break through the window.”

Then, it happened again on Mother’s Day when they were closed.

“We come back on Monday morning and this time it broke through,” said Diaz. “The following day after we replaced it…they vandalized it again.”

However, Diaz pointed out that something odd about these incidents is that no one enters the building, or steals anything.

“They need to get some cameras that’s what they need to do— to catch these people,” said Sunny Ruiz, a customer who has been eating at Panchito’s since they opened in 2001.

Diaz said the cameras are not the issue, “We looked at the cameras, couldn’t see anything, looked at our neighbor’s and couldn’t see anything.”

Harlingen Police Department is aware of the situation and told KVEO they have an investigator on the case.

The owner’s restaurant has been vandalized a total of three times since April. At this time, we do not have any suspects, or videos of the suspects. Our investigator is working the case but right now we have very little leads.

Sargent Larry Moore, Harlingen Police Department

Currently, Panchito’s is only serving curb-side because not all of their employees are vaccinated, Diaz said that the restaurant has been making less money during the pandemic.

“When you’re operating during a pandemic— my sales are 50% [less] of what they were last year,” said Diaz.

Since the third window was broken, Tiffany Martinez created a Go Fund Me to help the restaurant raise the $10,000 that Diaz said she needs for repairs and extra security.

Diaz told KVEO this is what she would say if the person who is committing the crime is watching:

“Everything that they do does [has] a trickle-effect and eventually we might have to raise our prices and that’s not something we wanted to do,” said Diaz. 

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