Philadelphia community steps up to help business after repeated burglaries

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Friday, September 23, 2022
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"This is the first time I've ever had something like this. I have a lot of windows. I've been very lucky until this point," said George Drakopoulos, owner of the Malelani Cafe.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Malelani Cafe, known for helping the Philadelphia community, was broken into for the second time in just a matter of weeks.

Surveillance video from a nearby business on Germantown Avenue captured a person using a rock to smash the glass at another storefront. The area is part of a string of break-ins since August.

Each time at Malelani Cafe, the glass was shattered and money missing from the register.

"This is the first time I've ever had something like this. I have a lot of windows. I've been very lucky until this point," said George Drakopoulos, owner of the Malelani Cafe. "Obviously it's not an inside job, there's not much to be taken here, so it's unfortunate it happened again."

For the second time, Drakopoulos filed a report with Philadelphia police.

Neighbors and other community members wanted to come together to help one of their own.

"He doesn't advertise all the good things he does for our community. So pleased to see people with open arms are letting him know how much they love him," said Jessica Rights of Mount Airy.

Rights, who lives nearby, started a fundraiser to replace the broken glass door and lost funds. Within a day they passed the $2,500 goal.

Other businesses in the area are also making sure they take care and watch out for each other even more.

"The businesses are also very much involved in making sure that their fellow business owners are OK," said Danielle Jawdy, owner of Zsa's Ice Cream. "I would say there are half a dozen of us on this corridor here, all in a little text circle. We all know if something happens at any time of day, any time of the night, we can text each other."

Drakopoulos says he is thankful for the community. He donated extra money raised to the local nonprofit Face-to-Face.

The owner says he will be upgrading the camera system and other security measures with the help of the Philadelphia Commerce Department.

For more information on programs by the Commerce Department, click here: https://www.phila.gov/departments/department-of-commerce/supporting-business/financial-support/