By Karen Morfitt
PARKER, Colo. (CBS4) – In less than 24 hours, the Parker community is rallying behind a handful of local businesses hit by thieves.
Sarah Hwang is the co-owner of the Hawaiian barbecue restaurant, Hangry Ohana; one of seven businesses which fell victim to a series of smash and grab burglaries Monday morning.
“It’s pretty much going to be thousands in damage, about $5,000. It really hurts our small business,” Hwang said.
Despite a shattered front door and busted window, it was back to work serving customers like Annita Taylor.
“I like the small town feel and I like the personal feel because people treat you like you’re a person instead of a customer,” Taylor said.
For the restaurant, keeping the doors open is what keeps them running even when thieves hit.
A pizza parlor, doughnut shop and a honey-baked ham shop, which caught the crime on camera, were among those hit.
In addition to the damage, police say cash registers were taken, emptied and then dumped at a local church. Parker Mayor Mike Waid got a call about the crimes early Monday morning.
“It’s very, very frustrating. So, the first thought is ‘How can we as a community help these businesses?'”
Waid took to social media, forming a community Facebook group to brainstorm ideas and rally for a cash mob to show their support.
“Ways for us to just show up and buy their products and services help them stay in business right and make up a little bit for what they’ve lost,” he said.
To no surprise, he says the community responded with enthusiasm.
“It’s just a constant bing, bing, bing people wanting to help,” Waid said.
While locals, like Taylor, have a hard time understanding why it happened, she is one of those in the community determined not to let criminals win.
“Vandalism always makes me angry and then it makes me want to be supportive of the businesses,” Taylor said.
If you would like to help, but cannot visit, the Community Bank has also set up an account. The mayor says all the money will be split evenly between the affected businesses.
Karen Morfitt joined the CBS4 team as a reporter in 2013. She covers a variety of stories in and around the Denver metro area. Connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @karenmorfitt or email her tips.