When Michaella Olavarri, owner of Mica’s Kitchen, stepped into her restaurant on the morning of Monday, April 4, she saw that her business had been broken into.
“[It was] just mass destruction,” said Olavarri.
Olavarri reported that nothing from her business had been stolen, but the person who had broken in had broken the windows along the front and side of the building, destroyed the point of sale (POS) system, knocked cookie jars off of counters and damaged cooking supplies. In the aftermath, Olavarri said she couldn’t walk around her business without stepping on glass.
The crime was reported to the King County Sheriff’s Office, who classified the crime as a commercial burglary, according to Contracting Unit Program Manager Debi Nelson. As of press time, no arrests in the case have been made.
While Mica’s Kitchen did not have surveillance cameras of its own, surveillance cameras at Euphorium, located next door to Mica’s Kitchen, and cameras at the Vashon United Methodist Church were able to capture an individual approaching Mica’s Kitchen. The person then put on a ski mask before breaking into the business, according to Olavarri. The surveillance footage has also been turned over to the Sheriff’s Office.
While Olavarri did have insurance, the insurance policy has a high deductible. The building’s landlord also refused to replace the windows, which Olavarri did not expect.
In total, the break-in resulted in around $8,000 worth of damage, not counting the loss of income to Olavarri. However, islanders have rallied around Olavarri to support her in cleaning up and rebuilding after the break-in.
Even before 7:30 a.m. on Monday, April 4, islanders had arrived at Mica’s Kitchen to help clean up the shop. Islanders also began showing up at the shop with donations to assist with repair costs.
“The community has come out in full force,” said Olavarri. “The good prevailed over evil.”
Two islanders, Chantel Jackson and Dale Greenfeld, organized GoFundMe fundraisers for Mica’s Kitchen and have collectively raised $12,673 as of press time.
Jackson, who is the Food Service Director at Camp Sealth and owner of Thyme Well Spent Catering, offered to set up a GoFundMe on Olavarri’s behalf after the break-in. In fact, Jackson catered Olavarri’s son’s wedding.
After setting up the GoFundMe, Jackson shared links to the fundraiser on her social media accounts. Notably, Jackson has a large TikTok following, with more than 70,000 followers.
In a phone interview, Jackson described herself as a “big woman of faith,” and is eager to see “how God is going to show His love through her [Olavarri’s] business to the world.” She also is thrilled to see “all the love and support” Olavarri has received and is excited to see people visit Mica’s Kitchen once it reopens.
For Greenfeld, the “heinous and senseless nature of the crime” motivated her to create the GoFundMe.
“The island has to take care of itself,” said Greenfeld in a phone interview. “We’ve got to be here for each other.”
Greenfeld also wanted to find a way to support Olavarri, and sees the fundraising effort as a testament to the strength of the community.
“[You] really can’t keep a Vashonite down,” said Greenfeld.
Olavarri said she is still in a bit of shock over the recent events, but plans to open Mica’s Kitchen back up on Thursday, April 14.
“I’m still getting my spirit back,” said Olavarri.
Note: Those interested in donating to either GoFundMe can do so at bit.ly/3uWwY99 or at bit.ly/3LSyBeR.