Three teens were unknowingly captured on security camera going through a Bronx store, stealing thousands of dollars while damaging property — and the store's owner just wishes they had asked for help or a job instead of turning to crime.
In the video, obtained exclusively by NBC New York, the teenage trio were seen ransacking the Arthur Avenue Retail Market around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday. Offices were left a mess, registers broken and thousands in cash gone. Paul DiSilvio, who owns four businesses in the market that were hit the hardest, said the thieves did damage to all the refrigerators, cigar humidors, and even broke down an iron gate.
He said that the missing money is one thing, but the repairs needed to fix the damage will cost even more.
"We walked into a big headache," said DiSilvio. "We felt very violated, but we're willing to always forgive. We never forget, but the community is really important to us."
DiSilvio said he knows a lot of the neighborhood kids, and goes out of his way to hire them when others won't — especially during this time of COVID-19, when the city's summer job program was shut down. He said his heart sank when he saw the security camera footage, because he thinks he recognizes the teens responsible.
"After I saw the kids who did in the camera, I would've wished they would've come to me for a job or asked for help of some sort. I would've probably hired them," DiSilvio said.
The forgiving owner even said that he would rather they return what they took and help make repairs, instead of going to jail.
"I wasn't a saint growing up and grew up on the streets of the Bronx ... I was afforded the ability to go forward with my life," DiSilvio said. "That's why pencils have erasers. Everybody deserves a second chance."
Police said they are looking for the teens in the video, but DiSilvio said what he wants most is for them to turn their lives around — so maybe one day they can own a business instead of stealing from one.