Bodega owners band together with $50K fund to help shops recoup losses after looting

Darla Miles Image
Wednesday, October 12, 2022
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Bodegas in New York targeted by thieves and looted will now get reimbursed for some of the losses thanks to a $50,000 fund. Darla Miles has the story.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Bodegas in New York targeted by thieves and looted will now get reimbursed for some of the losses.

The United Bodegas of America announced Wednesday a $50,000 fund for victims.

A bodega at the corner of Washington Ave and East 171st Street in the Bronx was burglarized Friday around 3:30 a.m. The store was closed, but surveillance video caught the suspect going shopping.

Juan Valerio lost $4,000 worth of meat that is typically stored and locked in an outdoor freezer before it is brought inside to be cleaned.

He said he can't afford to replace it.

But on Wednesday morning, the United Bodegas of America presented him with a check of $500.

"We hope this will help him recoup some of his losses," said Fernando Mateo.

The donation comes from a $50,000 fund established by thousands of bodega owners to offset losses from the recent strike in crime.

"And God forbid, that bodega owner, defends himself or protects his property, you can then rest assured that bodega owner will then be prosecuted and sentenced as the criminal," Mateo said.

In June, a bodega worker was arrested in a deadly stabbing as he defended himself. The charges were later dropped.

As for Valerio, he has been a stable inside his bodega for 32 years - as a store clerk at the age of 16 until he was able to buy it in in 2008.

And this was the first time he has experienced losses like this.

"Who's going to pay for that, you know I lose money, I got to take care of my family, I got bills to pay," he said.

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