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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Crime

No suspects in Nook, Calhoun’s Rooftop break-ins


Both The Nook and Rooftop were broken into early Friday morning. | Trevor Nolley/The Cougar

Staff members have confirmed break-ins at The Nook Cafe — a popular study locale right off campus — and Calhoun’s Rooftop early Friday morning.

The break-in happened at around 5 a.m., only an hour before the general manager came in to prep The Nook for opening. When she got here, she said, there was already a police report filed with the Houston Police Department and a trash bag taped over the door.

“A police report had already been filed, so I was a little confused, and somebody had taped a bag over our door so I was like ‘how did all of this happen,'” said Charity Whitworth, The Nook’s general manager.

It turns out employees at Calhoun’s Rooftop, the bar next door, had heard a crash while cleaning up from a Frontier Fiesta party held Thursday night. The suspects had also broken into Rooftop, but reportedly ran when they heard people upstairs.

“They heard a noise and they came downstairs, and the guys were running down their stairs and they saw them running off,” Whitworth said.

The Rooftop employees realized The Nook had also been broken into when they got downstairs.

“On the strip, we’re all kind of family,” said Whitworth. “We all watch out for each other.”

The strip — which is also home to Jimmy Johns, Pinks Pizza, Bullritos and Cafe 101 — has cameras both inside and out, but Whitworth said the inside camera footage does not show much. According to the footage, the suspects had their faces covered with bandanas and were wearing hats and gloves. They were carrying a crowbar and electric handsaw.

Currently, the employees do not have access to the outside security cameras, and the property manager — the only person who does have access — is on vacation.

“We don’t really even know what they look like or anything,” Whitworth said. “It was two men. One was tall and slim, the other was a little shorter and slim, and that’s about it. That’s all we know.”

She says nothing like this has happened before and that her and her employees feel like the space they provide to students was violated.

“What’s paramount to me as a GM here is that The Nook is a safe space,” she said. “We strive to make this a safe space for students to come, for faculty to come, for employees to be regardless of who you are, who you believe in, who you love, where you come from. We want this to be a home away from home.”

The Nook and Rooftop are still open, and both have plywood and a sign on their door. The door is expected to be fixed Monday.

“In the midst of cleaning up everything, we still had customers coming in. We still had to open, so we did that,” said Whitworth.

There are currently no suspects in the case, and those who may know something are encouraged to call HPD.

“We’re very grateful no one was harmed,” Whitworth said. “Things are replaceable, people are not.”

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