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Two eateries start off new year with a bang

Two businesses on the second floor at 909 Prospect St. in La Jolla, were broken into and vandalized early in the morning on New Year’s Day.

The two businesses that sustained significant damage are Cold Stone Creamery and Cendio restaurant, formerly Hard Rock Cafe,

“The damage was bad, but it was just stuff. It wasn’t people,” said Randall Hopp, the owner Cold Stone Creamery. “I have a camera and alarms, and my alarm went off at 2:30 a.m. Monday.”

Hopp said vandals broke through the window of his store, threw some cakes around and did some other light damage, then tossed his cash register through the plate-glass window of his ice cream shop. The intruders then destroyed his cash register and smashed a tip jar on the counter containing about $40, but did not take any of that money.

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“They tried to turn off the alarm and ripped the thermostat off the wall,” said Hopp. “That’s what scared them away.”

Hopp estimated his damages at around $8,000, noting a new cash register alone costs $5,000.

“I had to throw away all my ice cream,” he said. “I didn’t know if they contaminated it.”

But, even this cloud has a silver lining, one proves just how big La Jolla’s heart is. A La Jolla man whom Hopp identified as Charles Red Scott stepped forward after hearing of Hopp’s misfortune and paid the $500 deductible on his insurance.

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“I was blown away by that,” Hopp said.

Hillary Hefner, manager of Cendio restaurant, estimated several thousand dollars in damages were caused to their business.

“They broke through the glass of our two front doors with the decorative urns we have on either side of the entrance,” Hefner said. “Then they took a number of bottles of wine, liquor and glassware from our bar area and smashed it on the floor. They also smashed one of our computer terminals in the main ba, and damaged some of our lighting fixtures in the wood panel.”

A military veteran of the war in Iraq, Hopp said he used his savings from his duty overseas to purchase his Cold Stone Creamery franchise.

Police did not return calls seeking comment about possible suspects or action they may be taking in the investigation.