LANTANA, Fla. — The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office is investigating after burglars allegedly broke into a Latin grocery store on Thanksgiving and stole cash and valuables.
"This store is home," Joseph Abdin told WPTV.
His dad's Caribbean market in Lantana has been in the family for almost 20 years.
"This is my childhood. I was basically born and raised here," Abdin said. "It's my dad's pride and joy. He came to America with nothing and built this from the ground up."
So, when the store was allegedly burglarized late Thanksgiving night, it was devastating for the small business.
"They damaged a lot of products within the store, specifically the registers," Abdin said. "They broke into them hoping to find cash."
Abdin gave Contact 5 photos from the crime scene that were taken after the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office arrived.
The photos show where the crooks got inside by busting through a back door and breaking into the safe. They stole valuables from the safe and cash from the registers.
According to the PBSO report, the crooks entered the building and did not trip any alarms. The office safe was tampered with but no entry was made. A desk with a moneybag was opened and about $25,000 in cash was taken.
The burglars also stole a handgun from the desk.
Abdin's dad discovered the scene the next morning.
"It's unfortunate ... that on Thanksgiving someone felt that they needed to rob his hard work rather than spend time with their family," Abdin said.
Unfortunately, according to Abdin, the crooks covered the back cameras with a sock before going inside and then destroyed the surveillance system. So the family doesn't have any surveillance footage of the crime.
Abdin said they've received a lot of support from the community since the burglary. Because of that, they're now giving back to customers, giving away free groceries to some customers on Monday.
"More often than not, if a family comes in and they can't afford groceries, we'll cover it," Abdin said. "We've been doing it a little bit more in the spirit of the holiday season and to give back since the community has been so supportive, helping us and trying to fundraise. It's been amazing."
If you recognize Abdin, he was a recent contestant on the television show "Big Brother."
Some of his fans contacted WPTV about what happened at his family's store. The burglary is still under investigation.
Abdin's dad told WPTV he felt that even during this hard time, he should respond with good and kindness, hoping people will continue to support their businesses.