At just past 7AM this past Tuesday, July 11, Bamboo Club—the much-loved tiki bar on Anaheim Street just east of Redondo Avenue in the Zaferia District of Long Beach—had a stranger burglarize its space, walking out with an empty safe and blank checks.
And Bamboo join two other businesses along Anaheim—Pho Hong Phat, one of the city’s long-loved and Cambodian-owned pho shops, and Good Time, the coffeeshop which took over the former Commodity space—which experienced break-ins or attempted break-ins.
Bamboo Club’s surveillance footage of the burglary suspect on July 11, 2023. Courtesy of Brett Gallo.
“They got in same way they broke into Seabirds: Breaking our lockbox that we use for emergency back-up keys and using those keys to get in,” said Brett Gallo, co-owner of Bamboo Club.
And while yes, the safe was empty—”We were planning on using it until we had it bolted down,” Gallo said—the suspect “vandalized our electrical and data cabling in an effort to conceal his identity fro our security systems costing us—potentially thousands of dollars in repairs—but nothing to restrict the camera that caught him.”
Luckily for the owner of Good Time, Joey Villalobos, the perpetrators never made it inside.
“They actually didn’t make it inside,” Villalobos said. “I do have some outside footage though that shows Pho Hong Phat getting broken into earlier—and he was wearing the same outfit and everything.”
Gallo’s mention of Seabirds bookmarks the string of burglaries—largely affecting restaurants—that have victimized small business owners across 2023, with Long Beach police unable to make a woven connection between the incidents and have consistently asked business owners, along with politicians, to “be extra vigilant.”
This past February, multiple businesses (but particularly restaurants) were broken into: Chinitos, Speak Cheezy, The Breakfast Bar, Baja Sonora, Roxanne’s/Willie’s Tin Shop, The Social List, and Phnom Penh Noodle were all broken into. Just weeks later, more businesses—including Steel Cup Cafe—were burglarized.
Come June, things got worse with a monthlong string of burglaries: Seabirds, Holé Molé (on 4th Street at Almond Avenue), and The Hideout on 4th Street joined The Small Cafe, Wingstop, Philz Coffee, Beach City Deli & BBQ, Jersey Mike’s, Berry Brand and Afters Ice Cream.
Then, shortly after that, Altar Society Brewing Co.—the massive, beautiful new brewing space set to open on Pine Avenue—and Sushi Mafia reported burglaries, where POS systems and iPads were stolen in a coordinated effort between at least two suspects.