News

Peninsula Creamery Dairy Store, Rick's Ice Cream ransacked two days apart

Family ashes, more than $4K in employee tips among valuables stolen in store burglaries

The ashes of two members of a longtime family ice cream business were stolen during a burglary on Saturday at Peninsula Creamery Dairy Store and Grill in downtown Palo Alto. The burglar also took $4,000 belonging to a husband and wife who work there, business owner James Santana said.

Rick's Rather Rich Ice Cream was left with significant property damage and the theft of employee tips, cash and iPads after a burglary on April 1, 2021. Courtesy Kiki Khosla.

The April 3 burglary was the second break-in in the space of two days to hit local ice cream stores. Rick's Rather Rich Ice Cream at 3946 Middlefield Road was burglarized on April 1, resulting in significant property damage and the theft of employee tips, cash and iPads, the manager said.

The burglary of Peninsula Creamery Dairy Store at 900 High St., a popular lunch spot for downtown workers, occurred between Friday at 11 p.m. and Saturday at 5 a.m., Santana said. The thief or thieves kicked in a door to the kitchen and ransacked the office. Store cash and a jar of employees' tips was stolen along with the bags of ashes of Santana's father, John Jr., who died in 2018 and brother, Mark, who died in 2004. Both had worked at the family store.

The burglars removed the bags containing their ashes from their memorial boxes but left the boxes in the store. One bag was later recovered after someone found it next to the road at Coleridge Avenue and Cowper Street. The other bag is still missing, he said.

"It's more psychologically upsetting that someone invades your place" than that money was taken, he said.

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Santana's daughter, Brooke, organized a GoFundMe page for employees Yolandita Loaiza and her husband, who saw all of their tips for 2021 vanish in the burglary.

"They were using the tip jar as a kind of piggy bank, trying to save the tips for their family," James Santana said.

The owners of Rick's Rather Rich Ice Cream in Palo Alto found a smashed window that led to a locked office following a burglary on April 1, 2021. Courtesy Kiki Khosla.

Kiki Khosla, manager and co-owner with her family of Rick's Rather Rich Ice Cream in the Charleston Shopping Center in south Palo Alto, said her employees also lost tips. They were stolen after a lone burglar gained entrance through the rear of the locked building and smashed a door window to access a locked office. The man, who wore a beanie and had a neck gaiter pulled up over his face to conceal his identity, was captured on surveillance video. He ransacked the business and threw everything onto the floor. He took the employee tips, coins the business used for change and two iPads.

"Yup, That's about $3,000 to $4,000 in cash or change," Khosla said.

The business doesn't usually keep that much cash on hand, but it accumulated during the pandemic, she said.

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Besides the theft, the store also incurred costly damage. The burglar not only smashed the office-door window, but he damaged computers and other electronics. He also detached a secured safe and carried it out the back door before abandoning it. The break-in was recorded on Thursday at about 12:10 a.m.

The office at Rick's Rather Rich Ice Cream was found ransacked after an overnight burglary on April 1, 2021. Courtesy Kiki Khosla.

It was discovered at about 10 a.m., with the doors wide open and the safe outside, she said.

The theft and damage comes after a year of hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she said.

"The business is definitely greatly impacted. We're a small, family-run business with only one store. It's our bread and butter here," she said.

The pandemic closures, combined with an ice cream store being a mostly seasonal business, caused the store to not be able to pay rent and utilities during the winter. A GoFundMe page was set up last year to help with costs, she said.

"With this happening, it's more like a safety concern," she said. "We felt so safe in this neighborhood."

Now she's worried about her girls on staff.

"It doesn't feel safe to be here physically. We're asking people to keep an eye out," she said.

Four days later, the ice cream store is open but the workers are still cleaning up and repairing the damage.

"There is so much damage in the office. It's very disheartening," she said.

Both store owners reported the crimes to the Palo Alto police, according to daily police logs.

A third ice cream store, the Palo Alto Baskin-Robbins at 2615 Middlefield Road, was robbed at gunpoint about two weeks ago on March 22. Police arrested a man on March 24 for the robbery, which they said is related to 12 other armed robberies of Baskin-Robbins and Subway stores throughout the Bay Area.

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Peninsula Creamery Dairy Store, Rick's Ice Cream ransacked two days apart

Family ashes, more than $4K in employee tips among valuables stolen in store burglaries

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Apr 6, 2021, 9:24 am

The ashes of two members of a longtime family ice cream business were stolen during a burglary on Saturday at Peninsula Creamery Dairy Store and Grill in downtown Palo Alto. The burglar also took $4,000 belonging to a husband and wife who work there, business owner James Santana said.

The April 3 burglary was the second break-in in the space of two days to hit local ice cream stores. Rick's Rather Rich Ice Cream at 3946 Middlefield Road was burglarized on April 1, resulting in significant property damage and the theft of employee tips, cash and iPads, the manager said.

The burglary of Peninsula Creamery Dairy Store at 900 High St., a popular lunch spot for downtown workers, occurred between Friday at 11 p.m. and Saturday at 5 a.m., Santana said. The thief or thieves kicked in a door to the kitchen and ransacked the office. Store cash and a jar of employees' tips was stolen along with the bags of ashes of Santana's father, John Jr., who died in 2018 and brother, Mark, who died in 2004. Both had worked at the family store.

The burglars removed the bags containing their ashes from their memorial boxes but left the boxes in the store. One bag was later recovered after someone found it next to the road at Coleridge Avenue and Cowper Street. The other bag is still missing, he said.

"It's more psychologically upsetting that someone invades your place" than that money was taken, he said.

Santana's daughter, Brooke, organized a GoFundMe page for employees Yolandita Loaiza and her husband, who saw all of their tips for 2021 vanish in the burglary.

"They were using the tip jar as a kind of piggy bank, trying to save the tips for their family," James Santana said.

Kiki Khosla, manager and co-owner with her family of Rick's Rather Rich Ice Cream in the Charleston Shopping Center in south Palo Alto, said her employees also lost tips. They were stolen after a lone burglar gained entrance through the rear of the locked building and smashed a door window to access a locked office. The man, who wore a beanie and had a neck gaiter pulled up over his face to conceal his identity, was captured on surveillance video. He ransacked the business and threw everything onto the floor. He took the employee tips, coins the business used for change and two iPads.

"Yup, That's about $3,000 to $4,000 in cash or change," Khosla said.

The business doesn't usually keep that much cash on hand, but it accumulated during the pandemic, she said.

Besides the theft, the store also incurred costly damage. The burglar not only smashed the office-door window, but he damaged computers and other electronics. He also detached a secured safe and carried it out the back door before abandoning it. The break-in was recorded on Thursday at about 12:10 a.m.

It was discovered at about 10 a.m., with the doors wide open and the safe outside, she said.

The theft and damage comes after a year of hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she said.

"The business is definitely greatly impacted. We're a small, family-run business with only one store. It's our bread and butter here," she said.

The pandemic closures, combined with an ice cream store being a mostly seasonal business, caused the store to not be able to pay rent and utilities during the winter. A GoFundMe page was set up last year to help with costs, she said.

"With this happening, it's more like a safety concern," she said. "We felt so safe in this neighborhood."

Now she's worried about her girls on staff.

"It doesn't feel safe to be here physically. We're asking people to keep an eye out," she said.

Four days later, the ice cream store is open but the workers are still cleaning up and repairing the damage.

"There is so much damage in the office. It's very disheartening," she said.

Both store owners reported the crimes to the Palo Alto police, according to daily police logs.

A third ice cream store, the Palo Alto Baskin-Robbins at 2615 Middlefield Road, was robbed at gunpoint about two weeks ago on March 22. Police arrested a man on March 24 for the robbery, which they said is related to 12 other armed robberies of Baskin-Robbins and Subway stores throughout the Bay Area.

Comments

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 6, 2021 at 10:47 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Apr 6, 2021 at 10:47 am

Both of these businesses are located in proximity of the police department and other major businesses. You are looking at people who have no fear of retribution for crimes committed in this city. The current rants against the police department are misplaced and we need to support the law abiding people and businesses in this city and county.
Businesses need to gear up with cameras and more effective safety and security measures in the current days of social tribulation.


AlexDeLarge
Registered user
Midtown
on Apr 6, 2021 at 11:30 am
AlexDeLarge, Midtown
Registered user
on Apr 6, 2021 at 11:30 am

The "Sweet Tooth Mob".


Beth
Registered user
St. Claire Gardens
on Apr 6, 2021 at 11:54 am
Beth, St. Claire Gardens
Registered user
on Apr 6, 2021 at 11:54 am

This breaks my heart. Peninsula Creamery is an institution.
How awful to be vandalized in this manner.


Novelera
Registered user
Midtown
on Apr 6, 2021 at 12:24 pm
Novelera, Midtown
Registered user
on Apr 6, 2021 at 12:24 pm

This is just SO awful. I have been a customer of both businesses. It's one thing to break in and steal money and electronics. But the senseless destruction of the premises is just plain evil.


Please Don't
Registered user
College Terrace
on Apr 6, 2021 at 12:47 pm
Please Don't, College Terrace
Registered user
on Apr 6, 2021 at 12:47 pm

Let's bring them in cold.


Gale Johnson
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 6, 2021 at 2:40 pm
Gale Johnson, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Apr 6, 2021 at 2:40 pm

Yes, that is sad. I live in a South Palo neighborhood near the Charleston Shopping Center. I've seen many businesses come and go but I was always happy to see Rick's still standing and I've always felt it was safe to live in this area. Maybe not anymore. I've lived here so long I can't remember when there wasn't a Rick's in that location. I met and knew the original Rick. Rick's Rather Rich Ice Cream...the highest butterfat content of all.

I've had lunch at the Peninsula Creamery a few times. A place out of the 50's with great burgers and fries, and thick milk shakes made in those big stainless steel containers, then served in a tall glass container, and the battle was on...to suck the shake up thru that straw.
Sweet memories.


Bystander
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 6, 2021 at 4:38 pm
Bystander, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Apr 6, 2021 at 4:38 pm

3 ice cream stores! Baskin Robbins, Creamery, Ricks.

I would imagine other ice cream or similar stores should be very concerned now.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 6, 2021 at 5:29 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Apr 6, 2021 at 5:29 pm

I think we need a police substation at CHS. A number of crimes are now occurring in that overall location. The question is how locations that are very obvious to local traffic are having these problems and no one is reporting or noticing what is going on.


Frank Mueller
Registered user
Midtown
on Apr 7, 2021 at 11:04 am
Frank Mueller, Midtown
Registered user
on Apr 7, 2021 at 11:04 am

Rick's is a favorite - keep going!


Optimist Pessimist Realist
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Apr 7, 2021 at 9:50 pm
Optimist Pessimist Realist , East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Apr 7, 2021 at 9:50 pm
Squidsie
Registered user
another community
on Apr 8, 2021 at 9:40 am
Squidsie, another community
Registered user
on Apr 8, 2021 at 9:40 am
Optimist Pessimist Realist
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Apr 8, 2021 at 11:50 am
Optimist Pessimist Realist , East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Apr 8, 2021 at 11:50 am

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