A Minnesota restaurant owner called on local leaders to “step up” and help curb crime amid a spike, stressing that the increase in robberies is “not good for business.”
Brian Ingram, owner of Purpose Driven Restaurants in Saint Paul, told “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday that his computers and safe were stolen and his customers were victims of crime as well. He stressed that the increase in crime in Minnesota scares away customers.
According to St. Paul Police Department’s preliminary 2020 year-end crime statistics released last month, there was a 32.1% increase in robberies in the city last year.
In a Facebook post, Ingram called out local leaders for the surge, stressing that they need to do something to fix the problem.
“This is insanity that our businesses are being robbed daily,” he said in the post.
Ingram went on to ask, “Where are you, elected officials? What are you doing? It’s time for you to step up and step out.”
Ingram explained that the past few months have been “difficult” due to the coronavirus pandemic and the associated restriction on restaurants.
“We shut down our restaurant and started a community kitchen kind of during all of this and we continue to serve our community every day,” Ingram told host Brian Kilmeade.
He noted that “we’ve served over 100,000 free meals” during the pandemic “and run a community pantry along with our restaurants.”
“It’s been a tough road and we’re hoping to get back to some sort of normal, but we’re getting even more frustrated now,” Ingram said referring to the increase in robberies.
He then explained all the crime he has experienced recently.
Ingram said he has three local restaurants and two days after opening a new office for them “all of our office computers [were] stolen.”
“One of my other restaurants, last week had somebody come in in the middle of the afternoon, at 3:00, and rob us,” he continued, adding that on another occasion, “we had our safe stolen.”
“We’ve had a customer that just had their car carjacked,” Ingram said.
“This is so crazy for me, as a restaurant owner,” he went on to say, stressing that all the crime “scares people.”
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“They felt so scared to come into restaurants because of COVID and now we’re going to put, ‘Oh, you might get robbed or you might get carjacked,’” he explained. “It’s so, so difficult and so, so scary.”
In a statement, Melvin Carter, the mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota, said, “The incidents in our community has recently endured underscore the urgency of our work to evolve public safety systems beyond just emergency response, to include data-driven crime prevention and intervention strategies.”
“We are actively partnering with local residents, business leaders, and law enforcement to move this work forward with due speed,” Carter continued.
Ingram told Kilmeade the mayor’s statement upsets him even more.
“What really upsets me is I can get an alert and they can e-mail me and text me and say ‘Your tables aren’t six feet apart, you’re not doing this, or you’re not doing that,’ but you don’t call and tell me that, ‘Oh by the way 20 restaurants and businesses within blocks of you have been robbed in the last couple weeks, take extra security, make sure that you’re protecting your staff,’” he said.
“We do all of those things, but it would have been really helpful if you told me every business around me had been robbed in the last couple weeks.”
Ingram also noted that he does not blame the police for the increase in crime.
“It’s not about the police,” Ingram said. “I was upset and angry when George Floyd and all of those things that have happened and devastated our city.”
Floyd, who was in handcuffs, died May 25 in police custody after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee against his neck for nearly nine minutes.
“When I start talking about law and order and us being robbed, the hate comes out and it comes out strong,” Ingram told Kilmeade.
“For me, this isn’t about race, this isn’t about any of that, this is about protecting our community.”
“If I’m going to protect our community against food shortages, then I have to also protect about crime,” he continued.
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To learn more about Ingram’s community outreach program visit: Givehopemn.org