Thieves break in, trash independent east side grocery store

A&I Grocery Store was trashed after burglars smashed through windows and stole items. (WTHR, Allen Carter)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — One of the few grocery stores on Indy's east side was the target of thieves and vandals over the weekend.

Robert Hearst came to work Sunday morning to find his store, A&I Grocery Store, trashed. Burglars smashed through windows and stole items including expensive steaks from the store.

“When we pulled in my wife is like ‘Robert look.’ And I looked up and I saw my doors and my window, got out the car tried to call 911 and was so emotional, I just broke down crying at first,” Hearst said.

He and his wife opened the store two years ago at 38th and Post streets in the middle of a food desert.

“The Kroger has been closed down for years, the Walmart down the street has been closed down for years. There is nothing around here," Nick Glover, a shopper at Hearst's store said. "It is extremely important to this neighborhood. It’s a necessity in the post road area."

Hearst estimates the damage is about $25,000. Insurance will help him rebuild. Hearst said he is now looking at installing security cameras in the store.

“We’re going to rebuild, ... and start over,” he said.

Hearst is hopeful that he will be able to reopen the store sometime next week.