It was a typical Sunday at El Zarape.

Households loved Mexican meals and good vibes on the East Hollywood restaurant inside a strip mall on Melrose Avenue as CicLAvia shut the road right down to visitors.

However the subsequent morning, when the primary cook dinner of the day confirmed up Monday on the restaurant, a wholly totally different scene awaited. She referred to as the proprietor, Beto Mendez, instantly.

At first, Mendez thought it is perhaps some graffiti on the skin of the restaurant. He was improper.

El Zarape on Melrose Avenue stays closed after a burglar vandalized the Mexican restaurant.

(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Occasions)

“The minute I received there I used to be in shock,” Mendez instructed The Occasions in an interview. “I noticed the place utterly destroyed.”

Mendez stated there was $80,000 value of injury inside.

Chairs have been flipped over and tables have been askew. One bar had been bashed in with a hammer whereas all of the TVs have been spray-painted with graffiti. Spray paint coated one of many bar’s surveillance cameras and seemingly all the restaurant’s partitions. A protected with $20,000 was taken.

The incident was first reported by L.A. Taco.

Surveillance video reveals a person in a light-colored hoodie and darkish pants and Nikes shaking a can of spray paint contained in the bar earlier than any harm was finished. The person then sprays one of many surveillance cameras with paint, video reveals. Whereas Mendez couldn’t see some other individuals within the movies, he assumed that there was multiple vandal, primarily based on the quantity of injury, which included “C14” tagged on the partitions.

Owner Beto Mendez stands inside his vandalized restaurant.

“I noticed the place utterly destroyed,” says Beto Mendez, the proprietor of El Zarape.

(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Occasions)

Police instructed Mendez that the vandalism was associated to the C-14 gang, also known as Clanton, he stated. The Los Angeles Police Division didn’t instantly present touch upon the scenario.

C-14 is a gang that has existed in Los Angeles for a couple of century, originating on Clanton Avenue, which was later renamed 14th Place, according to a website that documents street gangs.

The gang is lively within the neighborhood, with tags up and down Melrose.

The group even tagged an area home of worship, Trinity Episcopal Church, scrawling “C14” on its marquee in spray paint.

“This space is like an epicenter for a pair gangs,” stated a person who works close to El Zarape, who requested to stay nameless out of security considerations. “MS-13 and C-14 in addition to another little native cliques. There’s numerous tagging throughout the neighborhood.”

“If somebody tagged the within of the restaurant, it’s fairly severe,” he stated.

For Mendez, the destruction of his restaurant couldn’t come at a worse time. Simply two weeks in the past, his ex-wife died. Mendez shared custody of their two teen daughters together with her and now has full custody of them.

“They’ve that stress and that stress of shedding their mother already and I haven’t actually instructed them nothing concerning the restaurant proper now,” he stated. “I might quite preserve it to myself and deal with it.”

Mendez is attempting to lift cash to reopen the restaurant and repair the harm by way of GoFundMe.

Whereas Mendez stated that the restaurant has had comparatively few issues within the seven years it has been open, there was an incident after the Super Bowl on Feb. 11, in response to Mendez and the opposite one that labored at a close-by enterprise.

That day, the 2 males stated, after the Kansas City Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers in Las Vegas, a person fired a gun into the air close to El Zarape, then barricaded himself inside and police SWAT groups had to reply to arrest him.

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