Police Investigating President’s Day Weekend Break-In at Taco Villa

Taco Villa, the Mexican restaurant located in UC San Diego’s Old Student Center, was the scene of a break-in that happened over the Presidents’ Day weekend. According to one of Taco Villa’s owners, Felix Calderon, the burglary likely occurred after the restaurant closed that Saturday evening, Feb. 16th.

On Tuesday morning around 6:30 a.m., an employee at Taco Villa discovered that one of the screen windows had been forcibly pried opened from the outside. Once opened, the burglar was able to fit through and enter the establishment. Fingerprints were found all over the glass portion of the window, the worker told the UCSD Guardian.

Approximately $400 to $500 was taken from the cash register. No other items were stolen, and the damage was limited.

Taco Villa has already filed a police report regarding the incident. The restaurant hopes to improve its security by upgrading the indoor cameras and by installing a new alarm system. They’ve also requested the installation of more outdoor security cameras around the Old Student Center from UCSD administration.

This is the first time that Taco Villa has been broken into. The Art of Espresso coffee cart outside Mandeville Auditorium similarly reported a break-in over the same weekend, although it is unknown if the two incidents are related.

Taco Villa first opened its doors to the public in September 2016, offering students an alternative to the Mexican food served at Rubio’s in Price Center.

“Me and my partner are just business guys trying to give our best service to UCSD,” Calderon said. “It really hurts us. We work hard and we’re just a small business.”

Genesis Campbell, a freshman from Earl Warren College, was shocked when she heard that a break-in happened at Taco Villa.

“It’s really scary that something like this can even happen on a college campus,” Campbell told the Guardian.

Sam Belfer, one of the co-owners of The Art of Espresso, told the Guardian that the Old Student Center has always been a relatively “calm” and “safe” area for businesses.

“Taco Villa is the first time that I’ve heard of a robbery here in 20 years,” Belfer said. “As far as I know, I have not heard of any additional [incidents of] crime or property loss.”

According to the 2018 UCSD Annual Security Report & Fire Safety Report, 55 incidents of on-campus burglary were reported between 2015 and 2017.

No suspect has been apprehended by police as of yet. Calderon is asking for the support of UCSD’s student body in the search.

“If you see anything out of the ordinary, please call UCSD police,” Calderon said.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact the UCSD Police Department through their anonymous tip reporting tool.

 

photo by James Song

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