ST. LOUIS – Even though a burglary suspect was charged, several bars in the Central West End were broken into overnight, causing thousands of dollars in damage.
Scarlett’s Wine Bar and Rosie’s Place were both victims of the latest wave of smash-and-grabs.
The two early Friday morning burglaries brought the total to 71 reported break-ins citywide in a little over a month.
The owner gave the police surveillance photos that show two SUVs pulling up to the bar around 1:30 a.m. on Friday, right after the bar closed.
One of the vehicles, the owner says, was later found abandoned and recovered by police.
Surveillance video shows the seven masked men checking the cash registers and trying to steal the ATM after breaking Rosie’s famous hand-painted window with a brick and crowbar.
“Rosie’s is one of the very few dive bars that Central West End has left,” said Lindsey Tegue, a customer.
After closing for a few hours, Rosie’s reopened to a crowd of supportive regulars on Friday night.
“This is our home away from home,” said Marina Gubely, a customer.
“Everybody knows everybody,” said Jason Johnston. “It’s kind of like cheers.”
Tim Butler, who bartended for Rosie’s for 10 years, speaks on behalf of the bar.
“Every night you work, you wonder when it’s going to be your turn with everything that’s been happening in the city, so we knew it was only a matter of time,” he said. “Hoping it was going to dodge us, but here they are, and it’s not going to stop us.”
The thieves stole some cash from the register and a bag of cigars, but the damage is going to cost thousands.
“There’s no reverence for the history,” Butler said. “It’s just cash grab, move, and run, and at some point, we have to say enough.”
A business across the street from Rosie’s knows all too well how it feels to be the target of break-ins.
“It’s really sad, it just feels like a kick in the teeth,” said Paris Hubler, assistant general manager for Brasserie by Niche.
Thieves targeted Brasserie by Niche’s neighbors after it was broken into at the start of the burglaries in October.
“We work really hard to make our community feel at home, to give a safe space,” Hubler said. “An extended support system, and I feel like we have that here.”
Both small businesses stood up to the thieves the best way they knew how in a crowded room filled with customers.