Casa Ora, the beautiful Venezuelan restaurant in Williamsburg, fell victim to a break-in yesterday, September 29th, during the early morning hours. The glass of the restaurant’s front door was destroyed, and a computer and register were stolen. 

The destroyed front door of Casa Ora.

Casa Ora’s food handling licenses required for restaurant inspections are also missing. The licenses cannot easily be re-obtained due to COVID, and are necessary to receive a passing grade on health and safety inspections, making them invaluable. 

On two additional occasions earlier this month, food, liquor, and kitchen equipment have been taken from the restaurant. Both of these robberies also occurred between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. Thankfully, none of Casa Ora’s employees have been put in harm’s way.

Casa Ora has a security system that has not stopped these burglaries. According to Casa Ora, the ADT security system did not alert the owners at the time of intrusion because the system failed to detect the motion from the intruders. Since the first break-in earlier this month, the Casa Ora team has reached out to ADT multiple times to bring in a technician and assess the situation.

The Casa Ora team only found out about the break in when co-owner, Ivo Diaz, arrived at the restaurant on September 29th to prepare for opening. Upon arrival, Diaz noticed furniture was displaced. He checked the cameras set up on-site and saw the damage that had been done. He then identified missing food, liquor, and electronics and notified NYPD.

Security camera footage showed several individuals passed by the restaurant a handful of times. NYPD advised the Casa Ora team that the intruders are probably the same group of people who have broken in previously. The police are continuing to investigate and actively looking for the suspects now.

Security footage of one of the intruders at Casa Ora.
Another intruder at Casa Ora.
Another intruder at Casa Ora captured by security cameras.

Casa Ora is an immigrant-owned and woman-owned business that has been vocal about supporting the Latin community during Hispanic Heritage Month and year-round. The restaurant proudly donates a portion of its sales to Fe y Alegria. 

On Instagram, Casa Ora wrote, “Our heart breaks. This is the 3rd break in this month, Hispanic heritage month, and on our Pastry Chef Díaz Pirard’s birthday. Not once during the height of the pandemic did we experience so much violence.” 

The beautifully-designed interior of Casa Ora. Credit: Brianna Balducci.

There has been an outpouring of love and support on social media, but the restaurant needs the help of the community. Casa Ora has launched a GoFundMe, in an effort to make up lost funds desperately needed to pay their staff, get a new security system and install a metal gate. At the time of publication, the Go Fund Me page has raised $2,785 of the $10,000 goal. If you can help, visit the Go Fund Me page here.

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