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Burglar Steals Booze and Toilet Paper From Mount Pleasant Spanish Restaurant

Mola's break-in is the latest in a series of restaurant and bar burglaries across DC.

Mola is the latest restaurant burglary victim. Photograph by Evy Mages
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Mount Pleasant Spanish restaurant Mola is the latest DC business to be burglarized of booze while otherwise trying to survive the coronavirus crisis. Co-owner Erin Lingle says she didn’t notice what had happened when she first arrived Thursday morning. But she soon realized bottles of liquor and wine were missing, then saw that the door had been pried open.

The burglar made off with at least $1,200 worth of bottles from a range local producers, including all of the Civic Vodka and Borough Bourbon from DC distiller Republic Restoratives, a couple bottles of Green Hat Gin, six bottles of Capitoline’s Tiber vermouth, Anxo cider, and a variety of wines and Cava.

“They have really good taste,” Lingle jokes.

Also stolen: all the toilet paper.

“From what was stolen, it seemed like somebody who was in the space before,” Lingle says. She adds that the burglar pushed bottles on the shelves together to seemingly cover his tracks.

The building’s camera shows a guy—”like a ghost man, you can’t see him at all”—making a couple trips to his car and staring at the camera sometime around 12:30 AM. Police say the case remains under investigation and no arrests have been made.

“We’re going to be fine. It’s just demoralizing after everything else,” Lingle says. “I just feel like I’m doing ten things at once all the time and only ever getting half of them done. We’ve been trying to pivot the whole business into something completely different. Every day there’s some new hurdle that we’re managing.”

In addition to offering takeout meals, Mola has started selling ready-to-go prepared foods, pantry staples, and baked goods, plus produce, meat, and dairy from Path Valley Farms.

Lingle says she’s heartened by support from neighbors. Regulars of the restaurant have organized a GoFundMe campaign to help Mola recover from the break-in.

Meanwhile, Lingle is encouraging supporters to donate to LGBT youth shelter Casa Ruby, which the restaurant has been supplying with toilet paper and other goods.

The burglary is the latest in a series of smash and grabs to hit restaurants, bars, and other businesses across DC. Capitol Hill has been particularly hard hit in recent weeks with break-ins or attempted break-ins at Dio Wine Bar, Bar Bullfrog, Belga Cafe, Ethiopic, Chat’s Liquors, and Capitol Supermarket convenience store. Police arrested a suspect in at least a few of the incidents last week.

Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.