The windows in their business may have been shattered but the restaurant owners’ faith in the goodness of people remains strong.
Over Memorial Day weekend, unidentified vandals smashed 18 dual-pane windows in the Sunny Side Up Café in Catalina. Nothing was stolen, according to co-owners Mike and Leslie Logan; there was just a lot of damage.
Server Mary Oertel was the
first person on the scene, just before 5 a.m.
“I saw glass on the stoop and thought it was from the front door, and then I saw all the windows,” said Oertel, who has worked at the café for 13 years. “I felt really sad. The Logans are nice people, they have a lot of nice customers.”
The Logans drove around the building to view the damage. Leslie said she initially felt devastated and overwhelmed, then she saw a sea of people working and told herself it was time to move forward. By that time, almost 10 employees had been joined by customers to clean up the mess.
Rick Ellis has been coming to the café since 2003. He was one of the many regulars who were puzzled by what happened.
“When I drove by, I thought they were remodeling, and then I heard what happened. I thought, what a bunch of jerks to do something like that. This place is great. Why pay them back like this?” he wondered.
Ron Becker is a Catalina resident who has frequented the café for close to 10 years. He, too, was shocked.
“It was jaw-dropping. We were stunned as if it was one of our own family,” he said.
The Logans had little time to speculate about who would vandalize their business. They had breakfast to serve that morning. And thanks to quick responses by their regular customers and contracted experts such as Quality Restoration, a Tucson-based business that specializes in clean-ups, they were back in business the same day that the damage was discovered.
“It’s been hectic, but the support in the community has been unbelievable,” said Leslie. “Our town has been in a little state of shock,” she added during the week following the incident, saying residents, friends and customers were reaching out by sending cards, donations and making phone calls.
“Investigators are still not certain what tool was used to break the windows. They do know the safety glass of each window was hit at least three times,” said Leslie.
There was so much glass on the floor at the entrance that it was difficult to open the door. Inside the café, the broken glass fell from mid-window straight down on the floor. Had it projected across the floor, it might have tripped one of the motion sensors inside the café’s dining room.
No one knows why the store was targeted, and there are no leads in the case, said Det. Aaron Cross of the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.
Investigators have attempted to follow up on one suspicious incident that may or may not have anything to do with the vandalism. Around 4 a.m. the morning after the incident, a security guard hired by the Logans to patrol their property observed a small white truck, possibly a Toyota, pulling up to a retaining wall outside a closed convenience store just north of the café.
The driver was a white male with a blond crew cut who was possibly in his 20s. A white female with dark hair remained inside the truck.
The male got out of the truck and retrieved something from the open desert behind the store. He then got back into the truck and the two sped away.
A reward of up to $1,000 is being offered for information leading to an arrest and indictment in the case. To report information, visit www.88crime.org or call 88-CRIME.
Until someone is caught, it’s business as usual at the Sunny Side Up Café, except the blush of innocence is gone for the café owners and customers. New windows with glass sensors and more security cameras are being installed.
“It’s a different world,” said Oertel.
Still, the Logans remain positive about life in Catalina. The few tears Leslie has shed came while thinking about the outpouring of support the restaurant has received.
“I kind of lose it a little bit when I think about how people have pitched in,” she said.
88-CRIME is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest and indictment of this crime. Call 88-CRIME or visit www.88crime.org.