It’s becoming an all too familiar sight for Bettye Gray.
“It’s unbelievable to me,” she said.
On Tuesday, her Rose Petals Restaurant was hit by burglars for the second time this month.
“It's a nightmare,” said Gray. “Every day you come in and wonder if anyone broke in today.”
Gray's restaurant has been burglarized about 20 times over the past 23 years. Located in Seattle's Rainier Valley, Rose Petals is a place where people come to eat, have a drink, but mostly listen to old R & B, soul and Motown music from days long passed.
Thieves could just as easily have taken the televisions or sound equipment, but then they’d have to sell them. Instead, they smashed jukeboxes and vending machines for the money inside. They’re crimes that are nickel and diming Gray to death.
“Right now, what it's doing is just about putting us out of business,” she said.
On Tuesday, Gary Rouse showed up to see if he could fix the equipment left in pieces on the restaurant floor, but it was all beyond repair. Less than a month ago he was in this same place fixing electronic dart boards that had met the same fate. He said it's happening all over Western Washington.
“I've had them go through the ceiling, through windows,” said Rouse of RJB Amusement Services. “They're getting pretty creative on how they get into the buildings.”
Worse than the money being stolen is the damage left behind. By the time all is said and done and the deductibles are paid out, this one break-in will cost the small business about $2,500.
It's all taking an emotional toll, one that Gray doesn't like to admit. However, her employee, Cedric Walker - who is so close to Gray that he calls her “Mom” - knows the truth.
“Mom's really hurt,” he said. “This really hurts her. She keeps putting money in to fix all this and is losing money.”
For now, Gray counts her blessings, like a few bucks left behind by the burglars in the jukebox. As she walks through the smashed glass from yet another burglary, she vowed not to be broken.
“I’ll just deal with it,” she said. “That’s what I do.”