Carvel Vandalized in Westwood on New Year’s Day

Five out of seven of the store’s windows were completely shattered, and the cash register, which contained just under $200, was stolen.
January 4, 2023
Photo courtesy of Stephen Winick

The KOF-K Kosher-certified ice cream brand Carvel, which has a shop under local supervision by Rabbinical Council of California (RCC) located in Westwood, was vandalized and looted early in the morning on New Year’s Day. Five out of seven of the store’s windows were completely shattered, and the cash register, which contained just under $200, was stolen.

Stephen Winick, the owner of the Carvel Westwood location since 2005, presumes the incident occurred sometime between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. on Jan. 1. He was alerted via text message at 11 a.m. when his friend sent him a series of photos of the shattered glass from the vandalization.

Stephen Winick

The exact time that the crime occurred as well as the number of people involved can’t be confirmed, as no footage exists capturing the details of the incident. According to Winick, the landlord removed the security cameras from around the property when the management company changed. Although the system is still installed, the cameras have yet to be replaced. Supposedly, this is the fourth burglary that occurred in the Santa Monica Blvd. shopping center in the past few months.

“Cameras do prevent theft,” Winick told the Journal in a phone interview. “[They] should be mandatory to protect property. [Even] if you have cameras that are visible [but] don’t perform any function, you’re giving someone a false sense of security — so they need to be working.”

Photo courtesy of Stephen Winick

Since the glass fabrication company, Glasswerks, was closed until Jan. 3 due to the holiday, Winick was unable to find someone to repair the window damage immediately. “I [was just] sitting there calling around, and I [wasn’t] getting anywhere,” Winick said to Fox 11 in an interview on Jan 3.

But to his surprise, the Carvel owner received a call from Armando Chavez, a custom glass fabricator located in the city of Paramount, shortly after he saw the breaking news on Fox 11on Jan. 1. Out of the goodness of his heart, Chavez drove to the ice cream shop on his day off on Jan. 2 to assist Winick in cleaning up the shattered glass and taking the exact measurements needed to install brand new windows.

“I feel bad for [Winick] over here at the ice cream place,” Chavez told Fox 11. “He’s got a small business here [on] Santa Monica [Blvd.], and it’s rough. It’s hard enough, you know, to make [a] living now, and then [the burglars] break into his place, doing more damage than what they get.”

Chavez took time out of his day to speed up the renovation process. He worked hard to prepare all the information needed to send in the repair order as soon as Glasswerks re-opened after the holiday. Winick, however, was still forced to spend the night in his car to ensure no one entered the ice cream store after hours. The owner hired security on Jan. 2 to keep watch until the glass is fully replaced.

“At the end of the day, whether I lose one window or five windows, it’s still a disaster,” Winick said. “I’m still unprotected.”

In fact, he said this was the third time that the Westwood ice cream shop had been hit since 2005.

Multiple glass vendors made it clear that Winick wouldn’t be able receive replacement windows until Wednesday, Jan. 4. He sent an email to Randy Steinberg, the CEO of Glasswerks, early Tuesday morning and drove to the manufacturing plant to see if he could receive an earlier replacement. Winick arrived at 7 a.m. sharp — as soon as Glasswerks opened — and got ahold of Steinberg who had read his request.

Together, they called Chavez to confirm the glass replacement order, which Steinberg was able to push to the top of his priority list. Steinberg rushed the order to ensure Winick received the five brand new windows later that day. “[Chavez] has never been able to order and receive glass on the same day,” Winick said. “I may have achieved the fastest timeframe from order to installation.”

The shattered glass windows were officially replaced on Tuesday. The owner is also responsible for covering the costs of the shades that the looters damaged, and he’s eager for the landlord to install new security cameras sometime in the near future.

Winick created a GoFundMe page to help keep the local ice cream shop afloat. He’s currently raised over $900 to date toward his goal of $5,000 total — the amount of the deductible required to file a claim.

“[I’m] just trying to move forward,” Winick wrote on his GoFundMe. “[This is the] worst time of the year for an ice cream store.”

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