South Philly restaurant owners struggle after petty thefts create risk of business closures

A refrigerated van stolen in the dead of night has set of a local restaurant owners reeling for business. The van contained all the fresh ingredients needed for three South Philadelphia restaurants to serve the communities.

The restaurants are struggling to keep their doors open after experiencing several thefts since last year.

"There are more good people than bad people, but this situation needs to stop, because it’s the community. Everybody needs to work together," owner of Marco’s Fish Market and Alma del Mar, Marcos Tlacopilco said.

A truck, crucial to the daily operations, was stolen last month. Tlacopilco says he travels often to Maryland and New York to get fresh fish for his restaurants.

"When I tried to find trucks – oh my God, the cost says $65,000! I said, ‘Oh my God!’ The price increase is so much!" Tlacopilco exclaimed.


Los Taquitos de Puebla is struggling to buy food and supplies after their van was stolen last August and, again, in February, loaded with supplies.

"It’s very hard for me, because I don’t have the money to make the payments," owner Nacho Flores said.

Nacho’s restaurant also was vandalized just a week after the first theft. The commercial corridor manager of the area shared video with FOX 29 showing the damage.

In Spanish, Nacho says he wishes there was more attention on how violence is impacting people in South Philly just trying to do their jobs. The restaurants are now in dire situations, due to the thefts, and have created a crowdfunding campaign and are asking the community to pitch in.

"I understand the life and everybody needs money fast. But, this is not the way," Tlacopilco said of the thefts.

So far, $12,059 has been raised, with a goal of $45,000. The owners say one of the struggles they are facing is reaching people, especially in the Latino community. Anyone wishing to help can do so at the GoFundMe, here.