Restaurant has fourth break-in since May opening EAST COLUMBIA

December 11, 1992|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,Staff Writer

Greg and Colleen Orendorff, owners of Luigi Petti restauran of Columbia, have found that starting a new business can have additional obstacles besides trying to pack in patrons every night.

This week marked the fourth time that burglars have broken into their restaurant since it opened in May, they said.

Between 10 p.m. Monday and 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, burglars forced their way into the restaurant, at 7185 Columbia Gateway Drive in Gateway Plaza, and stole $5,000 to $6,000 in valuables. Among items taken were a stereo, $500 worth of alcohol, a fax machine, CDs, cash from a jukebox and shrimp, the couple said.

"They broke into the cigarette machine and took every pack of cigarette and the cash," said Greg Orendorff, 42. He and his wife also own Luigi Petti in Baltimore's Little Italy.

Moving into a new business site and having it burglarized four times in seven months "makes it tough," he said.

Apparently, the burglar or burglars broke into a vacant store next to the couple's Italian restaurant, cut a 4-by-4 foot hole in the drywall and entered their restaurant, the couple and police said. Mr. Orendorff said police said they'd "keep an eye out" for the area.

Although the break-in was the restaurant's fourth, it was the first the Orendorffs have reported to police and the business park's property owner, Columbia Management Inc., a subsidiary of The Rouse Co.

The couple said they didn't report the first three because they considered them minor.

"It's pretty dark in the area," Mr. Orendorff said. "I guess we're sitting ducks."

Sgt. Steven Keller, of the police department's crimes against property section, said so far this year there have been four reported break-ins in that immediate area, including the one earlier this week.

Cathy Lickteig, vice president for corporate public affairs for The Rouse Co., said she knew of three other break-ins at the business park this year. She said the company would look into the latest case.

At different times day and night, Ms. Lickteig said, security officers patrol the business park, which has four or five tenants. The company believes security for the business park is adequate, she said.

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