Carvel, the KOF-K Kosher-certified ice cream shop located in Westwood at 11037 Santa Monica Blvd., was vandalized and looted early in the morning on New Year’s Day. Five out of seven of the store’s windows were completely shattered, and the cash register, which contained just under $200, which stolen.
Stephen Winick, the owner of the Carvel Westwood location since 2005, presumes the incident occurred sometime between 2 am and 6 am on Jan. 1. He was alerted via text message at 11 am when his friend sent him a series of photos of the shattered glass from the vandalization.
The exact time that the crime occurred as well as the number of people involved can’t be confirmed, as no footage exists capturing the details of the incident. According to Winick, the landlord removed the security cameras from inside the ice cream shop and around the property when the management company changed — and the cameras have yet to be replaced. Supposedly, this is the fourth burglary that occurred in the Santa Monica Blvd. shopping centers in the past few months.
“Cameras do prevent theft,” Winick told the Journal in a phone interview. “[They] should be mandatory to protect property. [Even] if you have cameras that are visible [but] don’t perform any function, you’re giving someone a false sense of security.”
Photo courtesy of Stephen Winick
Since most businesses were closed due to the holiday, Winick was unable to find someone to repair the window damage immediately. “I [was just] sitting there calling around, and I [wasn’t] getting anywhere,” Winick said to Fox 11 in an interview on Jan 3.
But to his surprise, the Carvel owner received a call from Armando Chavez, a custom glass fabricator located in the city of Paramount, shortly after he saw the breaking news on Fox 11. Out of the goodness of his heart, Chavez drove to the ice cream shop on his day off to assist Winick in cleaning up the shattered glass and taking the exact measurements needed to install brand new windows.
“I feel bad for [Winick] over here at the ice cream place,” Chavez told Fox 11. “He’s got a small business here [on] santa monica [Blvd.], and it’s rough. It’s hard enough, you know, to make [a] living now, and then [the burglars] break into his place, doing more damage than what they get.”
Chavez took time out of his day to speed up the renovation process. He worked hard to prepare all the information needed to send in the repair order as soon as the fabrication shop re-opened after the holiday. Winick, however, was still forced to spend the night in his car to ensure no one entered the ice cream store after hours. The owner hired security on Jan. 2 to keep watch until the glass is fully replaced.
“At the end of the day, whether I lose one window or five windows, it’s still a disaster,” Winick said. “I’m still unprotected.”
In fact, he said this was the third time that the Westwood ice cream shop had been hit since 2005.
The five shattered glass windows, which Winick expects to cost around $9,000, will be replaced on Wednesday. The owner is also responsible for covering the costs of the shades that the looters damaged, and he’s eager for the landlord to install new security cameras sometime in the near future.
Winick created a GoFundMe page in hopes of raising money to mend the destruction and help keep the local ice cream shop afloat. He’s currently raised over $900 to date toward his goal of $5,000 total — the amount of the deductible required to file a claim.
“[I’m] just trying to move forward,” Winick wrote on his GoFundMe. “[This is the] worst time of the year for an ice cream store.”