Smashed windows at Boba Guys
Boba Guys on Tuesday morning via Instagram. Photo courtesy of Boba Guys

Boba Guys, the popular boba tea shop on 19th Street between Mission and Valencia, was broken into Monday night. It was the third time this year.

On Tuesday morning, its doors and windows were completely shattered. Nothing was filched from the store, according to the vendor’s Instagram account. But the owners were nevertheless exasperated — their windows are not all that’s broken, they argued.

“Our system is broken,” Boba Guys co-owner Andrew Chau wrote in a Tuesday post. “Going after one criminal isn’t going to fix the larger issue. We all know about the growing divide between the Have and Have Nots — in SF, in LA, and many major cities with massive income disparity.”

He said the store will be putting up metal gates from here on out. He wrote that he is considering putting up surveillance cameras (“we’ll see where that goes”) and perhaps going cashless. “As entrepreneurs, we are into solutions,” Chau wrote. “Irl [in real life], there is no Batman.”

Burglars broke into the store on Oct. 13 and made off with some cash. The store was also burglarized in June, according to Chau.

The San Francisco native said the city is turning into “Gotham,” Batman’s hometown, and Chau is also considering taking matters into his own hands. “It’s time we take our city back,” he wrote. “You’ll see us wearing the cape made out of our paper napkins and bamboo boba straw in our utility belt.”

“A little boba shop can stir shit up.”

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Julian grew up in the East Bay and moved to San Francisco in 2014. Before joining Mission Local, he wrote for the East Bay Express, the SF Bay Guardian, and the San Francisco Business Times.

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  1. Hopefully the new Mission Local backed DA elect will help make this a safer place for hard working small business owners to thrive? Please keep encouraging him, ML,

  2. would prefer they put hi resolution cameras as opposed to metal gates. Metal gates just make neighborhood uglier and seem more dangerous. The gates can still get vandalized and can be expensive to repair. Based on the few comments already posted, some people feel like they didn’t say the right thing so they will probably get hit again soon.

    With cameras, you can at least try to catch the criminal and sue them in small claims court to get some money back. Criminal prosecution is a fantasy in SF. But then again, maybe catching them is also a fantasy…

  3. This has nothing to do with haves and have nots. This has to do the already ardous task of running a small business in the Mission. Paying folks to put food on the table. Bringing in other folks to the area so they buy things that put food on tables in the community. Cleaning feces and needles off of sidewalks every morning. Painting over Graffiti. Trying to ensure that the life savings invested into the business won’t be completely lost. The haves are safe in Pac Heights and Atherton feeling woke because they can afford to.

    1. Boba guys has 15 locations. They have multiple locations in SF, LA and New York. They are very firmly in the “haves” category.

      1. So because he’s successful – the breakin is irrelevant? The Haves can afford to robbed?
        You’re ignorant.

      2. I can tell you as a business owner myself, that opening more than one location is not, in any way, equivalent to success or being a “have”. In some cases, it’s the only way to keep your biz above water.

        Also, let’s not forget that a successful or popular business equates to the owners being wealthy—to the contrary, it’s generally the opposite.

    2. Bullshit – living in pac hts / doesn’t guarantee safety.
      Sick of these thugs scouting the neighborhood looking for cars to break into. Happens everyday everywhere because the police do NOTHING! He may have used a poor choice of words but he’s spot on. We need to take back the city from the assholes that enjoy beating elderly Chinese!!!

  4. That’s a fucked up response. His comment about how you cant just go after one criminal because there’s a growing divide between the haves and have nots is not a good look.

    It implies that the have nots are criminals that are targeting the haves (otherwise known as a dude who owns a franchise of businesses in different cities including some of the most expensive in the world). What is he proposing to do to the have nots exactly?

    And Gotham is a city over run by mentally ill villains who need to be able to be in a treatment center (Arkham asylum) and many fan theories about the batman universe are about how batman’s presence makes Gotham attract all these crazed people. So maybe like if that’s the attitude you wanna take towards the crime in this city, you should leave.

    I’m sure they were upset and dashed off this response but its hella bad.

    1. 100% this. Also “take our city back” rhetoric is most commonly associated with pro-cop, broken windows, stop and frisk style policies. “Take it back” from who exactly? I get the frustration of having your windows smashed but you still own this city way more than whoever broke em. If you’re savvy enough to get the have vs have nots angle, follow that more deeply, develop some class consciousness, and use your resources to help heal the social policy roots of petty crime.

      1. Typical victim-blaming. Mr. Chau actually takes a quite measured and compassionate response, given what’s his business has been through this year. He is wrong about talking about the have nots, but my angle differs from yours. The perpetrators of crimes like these don’t do so in order to feed their families; they do it because they can, knowing full well nothing will be done to stop them. The “take it back” line is in reference to saving the City from the criminals that run rampant and preserving it for the people that contribute in society, or even just go about their daily lives without ruining it for others. Please don’t stick up for criminals. And no, I’m not a shill for the police.