After ATM smash and grab, Grab and Go owner considers move out of Baton Rouge
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Business owner Wahib Saleh says he’s considering calling it quits after three years running the Grab and Go on Plank Road.
Before Monday, crime had never come to his front door.
But a group of thieves pulled off the ultimate smash and grab and go Monday morning, leaving a thousand-dollar hole in Saleh’s business account.
Security video shows the thieves sawing through a metal security door. Another guy armed with an axe smashes his way into the store.
Later on, the video shows a guy latch the store’s ATM to a car outside and give a signal to the driver. The driver speeds away, yanks the ATM through the front of the store and tears the front door off of its hinges.
Deeper in the store, another man rips the register out of the wall. The video shows others steal alcohol and tobacco products.
Saleh says he can’t afford to fix the damage, so other than paying private security to protect his store, he feels stuck and out of options.
“That makes me feel down. Makes me feel like I don’t want to stay in this state anymore,” said Saleh.
While he wants to pack everything and leave town, he’s having a tough time leaving this community behind.
“Some lady, she cried. She said I’m sorry for your loss. I’m sorry for what happened to you,” said Saleh.
Saleh says the Grab and Go is located in a part of Baton Rouge where there aren’t many businesses and banks.
His store and ATM fills a need for the neighborhood’s older community and people who rely on bikes to get around.
“Now, they lose time [and have to] go all the way down because I’m the only [store] between four or five blocks,” said Saleh.
“That’s what makes me think twice [if] I should continue or sell it or close down or pack my stuff and just leave,” he added.
Saleh says he just hopes criminals will realize the ripple effects their selfish decisions have on the city’s most underserved neighborhoods.
He says the Grab and Go exists to provide food and easy access to cash to his neighbors, not to thieves.
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