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Valley business broken into for second time, owner warns of more burglaries

A business in Rancho Mirage was broken into, and it's not the first time.

Willie's Modern Fare, owned by Willie Rhine, was the target of a brazen burglar early Monday morning. The burglar was seen on surveillance video smashing the back patio door, then crawling on the floor towards the kitchen area before kicking in the bolted office door.

According to Rhine, any cash the restaurant had was safely locked away in a heavy duty safe, so the burglar was unable to take anything. However, they left behind a set of keys on a lanyard.

Last year, overnight burglars attempted the same thing at Willie's but got away with nothing.

"It's absolutely demoralizing. You feel violated. It's not fun," Rhine said.

He also noted that there's "a rash of more burglaries" in the area. "People are getting desperate. And unfortunately, it's something that we just have to be more prepared for," Rhine said.

Rhine, who owns two other restaurants in Palm Springs, was visited by Palm Springs Police Chief and his friend Andy Mills. The chief suggested even tighter security measures like brighter lighting, a harder glass door safety coating, and even outdoor motion sensors.

"The alarm is the key. I believe having an alarm to premises is the answer because on both occasions, once the alarm goes off, they're out of here," Rhine said.

Riverside County Sheriff's Department collected evidence, including the keys believed to have been left behind by the burglar.

The owner's message is clear: businesses in the valley need to be more vigilant and prepared to prevent future burglaries.

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Jake Ingrassia

Joining News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 as a reporter, Jake is excited to be launching his broadcasting career here in the desert. Learn more about Jake here.


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