Oggi Cosi Si Mangia in the Tower District suffered tens of thousands of dollars in damages after a break in. Photo by Frank Lopez
Written by Frank Lopez
It’s like adding insult to injury — experiencing a personal tragedy during a global tragedy.
For Louie Maglieri, owner of Italian fine dining restaurant Oggi Cosi Si Mangia at 1110 N. Van Ness Ave., a break-in and heavy damage he suspects was the work of homeless people almost made him not want to reopen.
On Wednesday, Maglieri reported to police that burglars had come through a hole in the back fence at his Tower District restaurant and busted the back door to gain entry into the restaurant.
The burglars struck the alarm system panel with a hammer, and also shut off the power. They stole the sound system, speakers, a surveillance system, video recordings, a television and other equipment and goods.
Maglieri said that he has had issues with homeless people for years. But for the last six months, they have been camping out behind his restaurant. He said it is difficult to get a response from local police regarding the issue, as he doesn’t want to tie up emergency lines.
“I think they had access to my restaurant for at least a day and half — used it in-and-out. They destroyed the place. Most of the stuff they just melted, they burned it in the dumpster. They emptied out the place and then they left it in shambles,” Maglieri said.
They also stole important documents that contained his and his employees’ personal information, invoices and even personal photos of Maglieri and his family.
Maglieri said they caused tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage.
Maglieri is also frustrated with his security system, saying he has had it for 13 years and that it didn’t work the one time he needed the most, and that he will be charged for replacements to the system. The company told him they are not even sure if the alarm was set.
“If it wasn’t alerting somebody, why would they smash it with a hammer?” Maglieri said.
They also almost completely cleared out the wine selection, with many expensive bottles missing or spoiled due to the power shutoff. Maglieri also had to discard food that spoiled in the refrigerators and freezers, as well as canned and other sealed foods in case the burglars contaminated the products.
Gift certificates for the restaurant were also stolen, and he has to honor them all, as there will be no way of telling which were purchased and which were stolen.
Maglieri said it will probably take a week to clean up the restaurant, and he says he will go from there and do what he has to do to be able to re-open.
Maglieri said a GoFundMe was set up for the restaurant, but he had it shut down, as he doesn’t want to take people’s money. He just asks that they visit the restaurant when they can.
Oggi closed its doors a few days before the state and city shutdown orders kicked in in March for the safety of his employees and patrons. He thinks it might be too soon to open safely, even though Fresno County gave the green light for restaurants to reopen this week.
“I don’t feel safe in opening, not just yet. It’s not worth the money,” Maglieri said. “I really like my customers, this is not about money for me. I love what I do and I love the people.”