PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As if the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t challenged restaurants enough, an iconic Center City bar says a thief made off with its outdoor heaters. They hope the surveillance video leads to the return of the vital equipment.
On a bitterly cold night, McGillin’s Olde Ale House is setting up for outdoor dining, but owners are doing so with fewer heat lamps thanks to a thief who swept in overnight and stole lamps and propane tanks.READ MORE: Only 60% Of City Pools Will Open This Summer As Philadelphia Parks And Recreation Struggle To Find Lifeguards
“It was very planned. He knew exactly what he was doing,” McGillin’s owner Christopher Mullins said.
Surveillance video shows the stealth thief driving his truck up to the alleyway in front of the restaurant on Drury Street and tossing the heat lamps onto the back.
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“They were all woven together with bike locks and he came up and snipped,” Mullins said. “So, now we’ve got something twice as strong to try to keep the next guy away.”
McGillin’s had about 20 of these heating lamps that they use for outdoor dining. They cost them about $300 each. This brazen thief made off with four of them last night.
“They’re really hard to get. They’re not everywhere,” Mullins said. “Every restaurant in the world are scrambling for heat lamps. It’s Valentine’s Day weekend so it’s very important that we have that sort of coverage out there, especially how cold it is.”
Outdoor dining has become a lifeline for restaurants in the city as the pandemic rages on. Most restaurants will be able to go to 50% capacity beginning Friday, with the proper ventilation requirements. Still, for an industry already struggling to survive, it’s a tough blow, especially to the oldest pub in Philadelphia.
“We’ll get through it. We survived prohibition, we’ll survive COVID,” Mullins said. “But it does make the job extra hard.”
McGillin’s is not feeling the love on this Valentine’s Day weekend.MORE NEWS: Exclusive: CBS3 Obtains Surveillance Video Of Triple Shooting That Left Toddler Injured, 2 Men Dead In West Philadelphia
“It’s a crummy thing to do on Valentine’s Day,” Mullins said. “Your cold heart better be warmed by those heat lamps, but we want them back.”