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A criminal tormenting Fort Greene merchants with burglaries and vandalism for months defaced one restaurateur twice over the past week and tried to break into a second eatery.
Charlotta Janssen, owner of Chez Oskar, arrived at her DeKalb Avenue bistro last Friday morning to find ugly graffiti tarnishing the restaurant’s mural, green paint splashed on the sidewalk, and a lock barring her from opening a gate.
“I’m heartbroken. I’m going to have to repaint the mural,” Janssen told The Brooklyn Paper.
Compounding her woes was an act of sabotage two mornings later. Someone — presumably the same neighborhood scoundrel who is widely believed to be the culprit behind many other crimes against area merchants — snipped the wires on the French joint’s exterior lights.
“He wants to commit as much damage as possible,” Janssen fumed. “He’s a one-man wrecking crew.”
The repeat offender is believed to have done odd jobs for several shops, which perhaps gave him intimate knowledge of how to break in to them, police said in July. Janssen said that a paint can left on the sidewalk had a name on it — and the name matched the suspect’s.
This is not the first time Chez Oskar has been a target. Janssen said that on another occasion, someone stole her CD collection and that the suspected hooligan brazenly tried to fence the stolen music to a local restaurateur.
Nor has she been the only victim.
Since the spring, Bagel World, Sushi D and Madiba — all within two blocks of each other on DeKalb Avenue — have been broken into at least once. Over the weekend, Luz, a pan-Latin American cantina on Vanderbilt Avenue near Myrtle Avenue was the site of another attempted burglary. Someone broke the restaurant’s skylight, but unlike a July break-in, this time nothing was taken.Like many of the vulnerable businesspeople, owner Pedro Munoz’s patience is wearing out.
“Everybody knows who it is. The police know, but nobody is doing anything.”
Cops did not respond to requests for comment, but during a spate of incidents in July, Captain Anthony Tasso of the 88th Precinct told The Brooklyn Paper there was a single suspect and it was just a matter of catching him red-handed.
The owner of Madiba, a South African restaurant, gave the police credit for increasing their presence on the street in the menaced area, though it has not curbed the crime wave.
“I’ve seen a change,” said Denis DuPreez. “I’ve noticed a lot more patrol cars and a lot more police.”
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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