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Houston Restaurateur Criticizes Mayor Sylvester Turner After Rash of Restaurant Robberies

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Better Luck Tomorrow owner Bobby Heugel estimates that at least 100 establishments have been hit by thieves this year

better luck tomorrow bar
A robbery at this Heights bar inspired tough criticism from Bobby Heugel
Jenn Duncan Photography

In a lengthy screed posted to Facebook on Thursday, Houston bar mogul Bobby Heugel slammed Mayor Sylvester Turner over a rash of restaurant robberies after his Heights bar Better Luck Tomorrow was hit by thieves.

According to Heugel, Better Luck Tomorrow was robbed on Wednesday night, and he claims this isn’t the door-smashing, cash-grabbing thieves’ first rodeo. “These guys are pros — they even disabled our alarm system this time, giving them enough time to cut a hole in our safe,” Heugel wrote. “Most of my colleagues all know these fellas cause they’ve robbed what I would guess is over 100 great restaurants/bars inside the loop.”

Between the physical damage to the space and cash stolen, Heugel estimates that the robbery cost Better Luck Tomorrow about $8,000. He also noted the rise in car burglaries in Montrose and other surrounding neighborhoods in recent months, which has apparently forced Heugel to hire private security officers to patrol parking lots at his establishments, to the tune of $40,000 a year. That’s a pretty hefty chunk of change, even considering that Heugel operates several of the city’s most popular and critically acclaimed restaurants.

Heugel’s criticism of Turner comes about a week and a half after Turner failed to secure a majority of votes in the first mayoral election, held on November 5. He’s set to face challenger Tony Buzbee, a Houston attorney whom Heugel describes as a “guy once best-known for parking a tank in his front yard,” in an election on December 14.

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Dear @houstonmayor, It’s me again! Last night @betterlucktomorrowhou was robbed by the likely same people who robbed our other bar @anvilhouston this year. These guys are pros; they even disabled our alarm system this time, giving them enough time to cut a hole in our safe. Most of my colleagues all know these fellas cause they’ve robbed what I would guess is over 100 great restaurants/bars inside the loop. They’re big #foodies! They entered BLT through our southern patio. For clarity, not the northern one, where exposed city drainage at 6th & Yale overflows into our patio every 4-6 months, causing us to close our patio, and call the City out for well over the 30th time. So, not that patio– the other one. Broken window, door, phone/internet damage, security system, safe, and cash lost? Probably about $8k – very little of which was cash cause we know not to keep lots of cash in safes. Damn…if they could have only broken in during the Astros playoffs, that would’ve been great! Like every non-sports bar, we would’ve had absolutely no money in the fucking safe cause we were too busy losing around $150,000 in sales across our concepts in October. Mayor, would you agree that it is odd, even unacceptable, for this to continue? Or should we not be surprised in a city where every sidewalk sparkles with broken glass from car break-ins? Is this a weird attempt at a disco aesthetic? Cause if so, I know some bartenders who could be helpful! I read that there were 50+ car break-ins in River Oaks/Montrose in ONE DAY this month. We hired private security, which costs us about $40k annually- coincidentally, the cost that our health insurance premiums are increasing this year for our employees. I’ve reached out to Council Members, Police Sergeants, and anyone relevant to these issues, so I figured I’d write you as well. Anyway, we’ll be fine. Good luck with the election! I have no idea why you’re actually in a run-off with a guy once best-known for parking a tank in his front yard.

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