Celsius Ice Cream (1350 S. Park Victoria Dr. #37) was robbed over the weekend, early on Saturday morning, following an event hosted by the store on Friday night. The Milpitas Beat spoke with owners Jerry Wang and Chuk Lim about the incident.
The store has been open since January, 2019. “We’ve been here for quite a while,” said Wang, a Marine corps veteran who worked on humanitarian support and construction projects before opening the store. He went on to describe Friday night’s event as the kind that is essential to keeping businesses afloat during the pandemic. Following a successful gathering, the team went home: “We went home so happy,” said Wang. But: “At 3:35 in the morning we get a message from our security company that says an alarm has been triggered…This is the first time that’s ever happened.”
Lim arrived at the store at 4:30 a.m. A Milpitas Police Department (MPD) officer was already there, having inspected the property to ensure that no one was inside, and then remained to consult with the owner, a move for which Lim gave the officer praise. Security video footage showed one person entering the store, their appearance obscured by a hoodie and a face covering. Said Lim, the person was “in and out in less than 3 minutes.”
As Wang explained to The Beat, “Someone had wrapped up a rock, in a trash bag — so they were somewhat professional with this — and threw it into our door…And then they ducked through it, and so they went in, and made their way through to our office, broke into it, and absconded with some cash and our change box.”
In preparation for Friday night’s event, Celsius had picked up $500 in change from Wells Fargo. “We spent all this effort to try and get all this change, all in quarters,” Wang explained, citing the ongoing coin shortage in America.
More troubling still was the fact that the robber also took the employees’ tip jars. “If they would take cash from us, that’s one thing,” Wang said. “But the fact that they took cash from the tips that we have accumulated for the past two weeks to pay for the employees–that to me, that’s actually really, really bad, from my perspective.”
In regard to the pandemic, Wang added, “Business during COVID has been slow…We have received some PPP; we have some federal assistance in terms of loans.”
The pair was grateful to Wells Fargo on Landess for its support, as the bank was willing to expedite replacement coins right away. “Normally they don’t give up a lot of coin,” said Lim. But he went in on Saturday morning and got the change they needed.
In the aftermath of the stressful event, Wang did sound an ultimate note of positivity, optimism, and community: “We’ve been just overwhelmed by the support by the community. I think that is the saving grace of all of this. We work really hard to participate as part of the community. We serve out the local schools, whether it is Rancho, whether it’s Milpitas High School, whether it’s Piedmont, whichever it is. We ran fundraisers to do drink donations for nurses, first responders, firefighters…It’s very disappointing to see this. However, the fact that the community has been so supportive…all of this stuff speaks to us about how ‘Milpitas Strong’ really does exist. And the idea does exist…I think we saw a glimmer of that today by the fact that everyone has been so supportive, and so helpful, sharing us some love and support…
“We love Milpitas and Milpitas loves us back. And we definitely felt that today.”
Celsius Ice Cream has not missed a day of business.