A Connecticut man allegedly took advantage of a coronavirus-related restaurant closure, breaking into an eatery and turning it into his personal multi-day smorgasbord.
New Haven police say Louis Ortiz, 42, spent four days gorging himself on the food and drink stored inside the closed Soul De Cuba Cafe, according to local newspaper The New Haven Register.
The restaurant is closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that has hit Connecticut and the rest of the country.
Ortiz was found asleep in the restaurant by responding officers Tuesday morning after authorities received a call about a burglary in progress, Police Capt. Anthony Duff told the Register.
“Investigators reviewed security video footage which confirmed the initial burglary occurred several days prior on Saturday when Ortiz made entry through a side window of the restaurant,” Duff told the outlet. “Officers learned Ortiz helped himself over the course of four days to the restaurant’s food, liquor, and beer. In addition to eating and drinking at the restaurant, Ortiz removed beverages and property from the building.”
All told, Ortiz allegedly consumed 70 bottles of liquor and thousands of dollars worth of food and beverages inside the restaurant at the time of his arrest, authorities told The Hartford Courant. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney who could comment on his behalf.
Ortiz was held in lieu of a $12,500 bail at the police department’s detention center, then arraigned Wednesday, Duff said. He has been charged with burglary and larceny, both in the third degree, first-degree criminal mischief and second-degree failure to appear.
Lt. Sean Maher, district manager for downtown New Haven, told the Register that alleged break-in is not part of a larger trend and that the rate of burglaries in New Haven has not increased during the pandemic.
The local police department has added additional overnight patrols in the area to dissuade potential burglaries, Maher told the outlet. He also suggested that business owners without alarms to check in on their establishments every few days.
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