Police investigate break-ins at three businesses in south Lansing

Security cameras at La Michoacana captured the moment a black-clad invader threw a brick through the front door of the business to steal the cash register. (Photo provided)

La Michoacana Compi, La Soga, and Sharks suffer damage, no injuries

By Josh Bootsma

LANSING, Ill. (January 14, 2021) – Three break-ins occurred at Lansing businesses in the early hours of Thursday, January 14, an apparent attempt to steal money from the restaurants’ cash registers.

La Michoacana Compi (19283 Burnham Avenue), Taqueria La Soga (19267), and Sharks Fish and Chicken (19261) are all located in the same strip mall near Lansing’s southern border. All had their glass front doors broken as at least one invader entered each store.

The glass of the front door of La Michoacana Compi was shattered as an invader dressed in black forced his way into the store. The ice cream shop remained closed until the door could be fixed. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

Business owners said the break-ins occurred sometime around 3:30 or 4:00 a.m. on Thursday morning, and that the Lansing Police Department is investigating.

It unclear why these three businesses were chosen among the handful located in the same strip mall.

La Michoacana Compi

Of the three businesses targeted, only La Michoacana Compi’s cash register had money in it, around $50-60. The locked cash register was stolen by a single invader, as a video taken by a security camera located in the store shows:

Ruben Salas and his wife Rosa own La Michoacana Compi and primarily sell ice cream alongside other snacks and drinks.

La Michoacana’s cash register usually sits on this counter. The thief stole the locked cash register, which contained no more than $60, according to owner Ruben Salas. The donation box for Super Teci (Teci Avila), however, was not taken. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)
Burglars left the brick used to break into La Michoacana. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

“We got lucky that nobody was inside, you know, you think if somebody was working here, and they came and tried to do something, that’s no good. I mean, I’m not happy, but this is better,” Ruben Salas said on Thursday morning, hours after the break-in occurred and the broken glass had been cleaned up. He said he is often at the shop all night making ice cream, and his children often help at the shop. He is now considering adding alarms to increase security.

Ruben said he was hoping to re-open his shop as soon as possible, in a matter of hours.

Taqueria La Soga

According to staff at Taqueria La Soga, standard practice at the take-out Mexican restaurant is to empty the cash register every night. This left nothing but pennies for Thursday morning’s burglars, who didn’t bother to take them.

The brick used to shatter the glass remained lodged in the door, and the glass did not fall out of place. So the burglar broke the window next to the front door to enter the small restaurant. Besides the window and the front door, the rest of the restaurant was not damaged.

Both the door and front window of La Soga were broken early Thursday morning. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

According to restaurant employee Lily Maciel, Lansing Police examined the scene for fingerprints but were unable to recover any because the invader wore gloves.

Gilberto Muñoz, who owns La Soga with his wife Martha, said this is the first time his business has been broken into. Although the break-in was “bad,” he smiled sadly and said, “the insurance will fix it” as he looked at his shattered front door.

La Soga employee Lily Maciel (left) and owner Gilberto Muñoz (right) watch as Lansing Police Officer Barbara Klingelschmitt examines the security footage from early Thursday morning. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

Muñoz and Maciel indicated La Soga would need to remain closed until the potentially dangerous glass shards in the front window and door could be properly taken care of. They sadly turned away customers who arrived at the lunch hour, unaware of the early-morning break-in.

Sharks Fish and Chicken

According to employee Kaylyn Pamon, standard practice when closing up for the day at Sharks is to empty the cash register, turn it toward the front window, and open the drawers to show potential burglars there’s nothing to steal. That message, however, did not prevent Thursday morning’s intruder from shattering the glass front door. No other damage was done.

Sharks Fish and Chicken opened its Burnham Ave. location in Lansing not long ago. A break-in at the restaurant shattered the front door but appeared to do no other damage. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

Sharks has not been in business more than a couple months at the Burnham Avenue location in Lansing. On Thursday the restaurant opened as usual despite the break-in. Pamon mentioned that she learned about the incident when the owner called her to make sure she still felt comfortable coming to work. She stayed at her post behind the counter despite the cold coming in the glass-less door.

Kaylyn Pamon takes an order at Sharks Fish and Chicken at noon on Thursday. Though one of the business’s glass front doors was broken, the restaurant continued to operate. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

No employees at any of the three burglarized businesses were harmed as a result of the break-ins.

Information regarding break-ins requested

Individuals with information regarding the trio of break-ins are requested to call the Lansing Police Department at its non-emergency number: 708-895-7150.


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