NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The owner of Hank's Meat Market on St. Claude Avenue is dealing with a mess left behind from a robbery early Wednesday morning.
"All three registers were destroyed, and so many products are missing," Lisa Nelson said.
The robber, caught on surveillance video, stayed inside of the business for about an hour and half. Nelson said she was shocked when she discovered how he broke in.
"I guess he did his homework because there are freezers and ovens on the side, and he just broke in behind the shelf. He just came in," Nelson said.
The robber made a huge hole in the wall that connects Hank's Meat Market to a hair salon next door. Once inside, he went straight to the area behind the counter.
"He just had a hoodie on and he was just using a glove and a paper bag on his hands. He started taking things," Nelson said.
He used a hammer to beat three registers open, stealing money inside of each. He stole cigarettes, different enhancement pills and powders and alcohol.
Nelson is disgusted and sad.
"We can't operate. We can't ring anybody up. We have a lot of inventory gone," she Nelson.
Nelson said her family moved to New Orleans from New Jersey after Katrina. She said they opened Hank's Meat Market about two years ago, and they've worked extremely hard.
"It's a day-to-day struggle. We work 16 hours a day, seven days a week," Nelson said.
The robber even stole all the money from the tip jar on the counter.
"Sometimes people would come in and want something to eat. I would go into my tip jar to purchase something. My kids would want something. We used the tip jar for more than just our needs," Nelson said.
Between the destroyed property and stolen merchandise, Nelson believes the loss is well over $10,000, but she said they will re-open.
"We have no choice. We have to re-open, but we'll be more aware and do things a little different now that we know this was possible and it happened," Nelson said.
She knows it will be a tough road ahead.