Sometimes it seems like an epidemic.

Of broken windows and smashed doors, stolen and defaced property.

And mostly, disrespect.

Late Tuesday night, the senselessness of it all struck Luigi's, the historic and much-loved restaurant and delicatessen in east Bakersfield's Old Town Kern.

"A man broke through the double door, walked into the big dining room, grabbed a fire extinguisher and started spraying that white stuff all over," said Lanette Valpredo, a member of the family that operates the local landmark.

"He didn't even try to steal anything," she said.

Instead, the man sprayed clouds of flame retardant all over the dining area and coffee service room. Once it settled, every surface was covered with a fine, white powder.

"It's heart-wrenching," Valpredo said, referring not only to the Tuesday night incident, but the wider problem that is affecting businesses all over Bakersfield, especially in downtown Bakersfield and historic but struggling east Bakersfield.

Thousands of tourists from all over the world come to Old Town Kern to experience the Basque restaurants, the Pyrenees Bakery and see the old rail depot and the horse rings that still exist at Luigi's, which were once used by customers to tie up their horses.

"People come by the busload to visit this area," Valpredo said. "This is what they see. Old Town Kern is a disaster zone."

On Wednesday, Manuel Roque, 27, of Bakersfield, was arrested by Bakersfield police on charges of burglary and vandalism in connection with the break-in, a development that provided Valpredo with some encouragement.

But this city is experiencing a crisis, she said, and waiting for additional police officers to be hired and trained is a long-term solution that won't solve the current crisis.

"We should have our own dedicated police officer," she said. "We've been here 110 years. We can't just move."

And the city's beautification projects "seem to stop at Union Avenue."

Still, Valpredo was heartened this week by what she described as her "amazing crew of dedicated workers" who came in early Wednesday morning to help clean up the mess.

"They dialed it in," she said.

And by lunchtime the restaurant was ready and open for business.

Steven Mayer can be reached at 661-395-7353. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter: @semayerTBC.

(20) comments

HeresJohnny

We used to have a police force that took care of the bum problem but thanks to everybody whining about police brutality all the time this is what you get.

Donna Semar

Has it been reported how this chap wandered from southern California up to Kern County?

Fightingsideofme

Is he legal or a Begal ?

yorkies2014

He's Back......Previous Arrests

Manuel Roque

Arrested on: 8/28/2019

Arrested For:

By:

Date:

Vandalism $5000 Or More

Burglary - Other

Bakersfield PD

9/4/2019

Possession of Controlled Substance

Possess Control Substance Paraphernalia

Intoxicated in Public

Bakersfield PD

8/14/2019

Trespass By Driving On Private Property

Bakersfield PD

7/3/2019

Vandalism $5K To $50K

Loiter / Prowl / Wander Upon The Private Property Of Another

Tamper With Vehicle

Kern County SD

2/8/2019

Assault w/Deadly Weapon Or Assault w/Force Likely To Produce GBI

Bakersfield PD

2/1/2019

Petty Theft

Vandalism - Damage Property

Loiter / Prowl / Wander Upon The Private Property Of Another

Bakersfield PD

1/9/2019

Assault w/Deadly Weapon Or Assault w/Force Likely To Produce GBI

Bakersfield PD

9/22/2018

Intoxicated in Public

Kern County SD

6/14/2018

Burglary - Other

Bakersfield PD

5/21/2018

Intoxicated in Public

Bakersfield PD

5/17/2018

Intoxicated in Public

Kern County SD

5/11/2018

Use/Under Influence Controlled Substance

Tulare County SD

5/5/2017

Warrants Or Holds Only

Bakersfield PD

12/28/2016

Use/Under Influence Controlled Substance

San Bernardino County SD

8/14/2016

Use/Under Influence Controlled Substance

Orange County SD

2/23/2016

Possession of Controlled Substance

Los Angeles PD

1/30/2016

Use/Under Influence Controlled Substance

Monterey Park PD

1/27/2016

Use/Under Influence Controlled Substance

Alhambra PD

1/26/2016

Fightingsideofme

Is he legal or a Begal ?

byebyeCA

Get rid of dry chemical extinguishers and use CO2 extinguishers no mess, no fire.

Athanasios

“We need our own dedicated police officer”. Really? Make sure to include the dedicated car as well so that he can spend 24/7 patrolling your restaurant. Do you have video of the perpetrator? Do you even have cameras? In your case the perp was caught, which is more than any of us peons can say when stuff is stolen from us. You make enough money to take some security measures, just like many of us do. Stop thinking you and your restaurant are so much more special than everyone else. #luigisprivilege.

thatryguy

Pretty sure she meant the area should have its own dedicated officer. Not the restaurant itself. Come on.

Athanasios

You mean after she said “we need our own dedicated police officer” when she said “we’ve been here for 110 years” referred to the area and not the restaurant. No, she was clear.

Patricia Edna

She was referring to the area. Don’t be silly. No business owner expects they would get their own police officer and we all know this. The Californian put that ambiguous statement in there to create “a dialogue” but if you are so narrow minded that you think she speaks for herself and not the community around her, that’s your problem

Athanasios

@Patricia - Have you seen the video of the perp entering the building? No, you didn’t because there is none. If you are in an area that is run down you either invest in your own security measures or you ask for police to patrol your business. Hopefully this is a wake up call for them to invest in some of their own security. There are plenty of parts of Bakersfield that want increased police presence...

georgieboy11

Lanette Valpredo: "We deserve a dedicated police officer".... What? Your business makes plenty of money. Hire security yourself. Have you ever heard of those roll down steel doors? There are plenty of ways to protect your business, and your "110" year old business is no more special than others.

CaliforniaHamm

Was this an anti dove hunting demonstration in light of the annual kick-off celebration?

PSNolen

I'll place a $10 bet right now: the DA drops the charges against this jackhole.

Inconvenient Truth

Sorry, Nolen.

You just lost your $10

https://www.kern.courts.ca.gov/online_services/criminal_case_search

PedoHater

They are probably nothing in property taxes (low building valuation) and minimal sales taxes (food)....but they deserve their own dedicated officer. #whiteprivledge

dlc

Prepared restaurant food is taxable at the sales tax rate....but we wouldn't expect someone with the name PedoHater to know the facts.

Abby

That does not, in any way, justify break ins and vandalism. Go take your racebaiting else where

#stopracebaiting

dabonem

An anti-white racist appears...

Gene Pool Chlorinator

PedoHater, you're a know nothing blowhard that can't even spell a hashtag correctly.




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