Third case of vandalism for Sioux Falls Mediterranean Store in 2022

The store’s owner, Hayder Hayyawi, said his place has been vandalized three times since opening...
The store’s owner, Hayder Hayyawi, said his place has been vandalized three times since opening on East 12th Street in Sioux Falls in January of 2022.(Dakota News Now)
Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 2:55 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The owner of a Sioux Falls Mediterranean store, Hayder Hayyawi, said the establishment has been vandalized three times since opening on East 12th Street in January 2022.

According to Hayyawi, the front door was locked before they began their closing routine, as they usually do.

“Suddenly, after we just closed the front door, go to the back to the kitchen, seconds later, all we hear is just things breaking,” said Hayyawi.

Hayyawi said his first instinct was to confront the intruder; however, one of his employees pulled him back. They quickly decided to take shelter in the walk-in cooler. Although Hayyawi could not see what was happening, he could hear the commotion and the front door’s sensor beeping, alerting him that the front door was open.

Hayyawi and his employee waited in the cold fridge until Hayyawi’s dad came to let them out. The police arrived at the scene as well.

The motive for the repeated vandalism is unclear, “We opened up the restaurant like a couple months ago, and people loved it. And we were just, we were going to open even a second location, but things never stop getting damaged here, you know. It happened month after another. As I said, this is not the first time.”

Hayyawi first set up the store as a Shop N’ Cart when he started encountering repeated thefts and break-ins.

“I used to be the owner of Shop N’ Cart in this location, and I used to have the same headache, same break-ins, and same theft, so that’s the reason I wanted to change it to something with less headache, you know,” Hayyawi said. “Unfortunately, this is what’s happening, you know, as you can see.”

Hayyawi said he’s determined to keep going, no matter the setbacks.

“I’m not going to stop at this point, I’m going to keep going, and I’m going to fix it, and I’m going to open a second, third, fourth, and I’m going to go from there,” said Hayyawi.

He said he’s grateful for his employees and brother that came to help clean the store and, “As family, we are going to fix this and move forward.”

As far as moving forward, Hayyawi said, “Looking at the damage, hopefully, I can get some support from some people and families and community.”

The president of Startup Sioux Falls, Brienne Maner, said she had just attended an event at the location the day before the vandalism took place.

“We were just here on Tuesday, the startup community had an event. We had a wonderful time, we had a beautiful lunch, and I was thinking to myself that I needed to stop back in here again this week because this is such a great place,” said Maner.

When Maner saw what had happened to the store, she said she was “my heart broke first, and then I got angry, and then I just wanted to do something to organize.”

Maner is worried that instances such are taking place in the city.

“I’m worried and afraid that there are more out there, and, and the best thing we can do is lean on the resources around us. I was happy to see that the PD responded to this immediately, so thank you to the police department,” said Maner.

Surveillance in the store and surrounding areas will help advance the investigation, Hayyawi said, “Hopefully, we’ll get this solved here and move on from it.”

“We have to step up and let our community members know that we are going to rally around them, that we want to keep them safe, and we want them to thrive in this community that we are so proud of,” said Maner.

If anyone has information regarding this incident, please contact the authorities. Crime Stoppers can be reached at (877) 367-7007.

A gofundme has been set up for expenses and recovery.