WASHINGTON - The owner of a Northwest D.C. liquor store is devastated after a thief cut through the wall of his business and stole all of his earnings from New Year's Eve.
The break-in happened Sunday just before 5 a.m. at Roha Liquor Store on Kennedy Street in the Brightwood Park neighborhood.
Police who responded found a large hole in a hallway adjacent to the store along with a Sawzall power tool. Surveillance video shows a man with his face covered shaking the register and stealing all of the cash inside, then exiting through the hole he came through.
Owner Kassa Aragaw told police about $25,000 was stolen. He said he left the cash in the register because he did not want to walk out with it, in what can be a rough neighborhood, when the store closed at midnight. He said he planned to retrieve it first thing in the morning.
"That kind of loss really hurts very bad," Aragaw said.
He and his wife, who are originally from Ethiopia, run the store together.
"Seven days a week we work nonstop," he said. "That works well, makes me happy. I made it. I enjoy the life in America."
Tears came to eyes as he described how he started off working as a shoe shiner at Dulles International Airport for seven years and then used that money to build his business.
"We work hard," Aragaw said. "We earn it, honest way."
He said this is the third time his business has been burglarized. He said several years ago, someone kicked in a back door. Then over the summer, a burglar came in after breaking out an air conditioning vent. He said no one was ever caught.
"What happens next now if there's no consequence? What will come?" He asked. "That makes me scared."