Upper Arlington bar turns burglary into opportunity to provide help

UPPER ARLINGTON, OH (WCMH) — At a glance, it was business as usual at The Daily Growler in Upper Arlington on Thursday night.

Early Thursday morning was a different story.

“It’s a very eerie feeling, entering your place of business as a crime scene,” says owner John Blakely.

Blakely got a call from police at 3:30 a.m. Wednesday telling him his craft beer bar was burglarized. The glass door entrance was shattered and a mess was left behind, but the financial impact was manageable – mainly because the suspect stole mostly food, plus a $6 from the tip jar.

From beef jerky and potato chips to employee food that was refrigerated and around half a dozen servings of Jeni’s Ice Cream, the suspect seemed to be in need of food as much as anything.

Police told Blakely they believe the same man may have broken into El Vaquero on the same day. The Mexican restaurant’s managers told NBC4 whoever broke in stole $200.

“It’s sad that he treated our business like this,” Blakely adds. “But it’s also sad that people get so desperate and obviously have no other means to provide for themselves.”

So Blakely and his family decided to provide help for those who may be in a similar situation as the suspect. Just hours after the incident, John’s father came up with the idea to donate 10 percent of every pint sold on Thursday to the Columbus Coalition for the Homeless.

His son agreed.

“I’d probably buy him a beer,” the younger Blakely says of if the suspect came into the bar. “Just see if there’s any way we could help.”

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