Desperate small business owners sleeping in stores with guns and bulletproof vests to deter robbers

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A Houston bar owner is speaking out about crime in the city after repetitive break-ins and robberies. 

Star Sailor owner Marin Slanina joined “Fox & Friends” to discuss how crime is hurting small businesses like hers. 

“You name it, we’re all getting broken into,” said Slanina. 

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According to FOX 26, a handful of small business owners went to the Houston City Council meeting Wednesday to discuss their crime concerns, including Slanina.

“It’s definitely not a neighborhood-exclusive thing,” she said. “The City of Houston as a whole has a problem with burglaries, thefts, and break-ins.” 

Desperate small business owners sleeping in stores with guns and bulletproof vests to deter robbers

“I have been burglarized 15 times in the last year,” said one owner.

“Some [business owners] have gone to the great lengths of living in their business with a bulletproof vest and shotgun, during the hours these break-ins are happening,” said Slanina. 

“Anybody who walks in the door, you want to give them benefit of the doubt.  [However], you still have to have your guard up.  You still have to be ready to take care of your house.”

Desperate small business owners sleeping in stores with guns and bulletproof vests to deter robbers

Star Sailor bar in Houston robbed by thieves who busted in through front door.
(Fox News)

Slanina said it is “troublesome” that she started her business in “the great city of Houston” and as a result, is now dealing with repeated break-ins.

Slanina described what her business and others nearby have experienced, including eight break-ins in less than two days.

“Back in May of last year, we were broken into the first time, as you saw from that surveillance , it was a cash and grab, came in and stole our cash box. They also broke into the nail salon next door and the hair salon. And then less than 48 hours later, they came and got us. The nail salon, the hair salon, another restaurant business, and another restaurant business,” she recalled.

Desperate small business owners sleeping in stores with guns and bulletproof vests to deter robbers

Slanina said some bar owners have slept in their bars armed with guns. 

“Reserve 101 has the highest-end bourbon selection in the city of Houston. One bottle out that door could cost $25,000. So any loss to a small business is too much, especially in this day and age.”

Cobo’s BBQ owner Raul Jacobo joined “Fox & Friends First” last week to discuss how crime has impacted his ability to do business in his hometown, and why he believes he needs to resort to sleeping at the bar to stop the criminals from striking again. 

“This is a major issue with our city right now,” Jacobo told co-host Carley Shimkus. “If I’m frustrated… based on these burglaries, I could just imagine how families feel that they’ve actually lost loved ones because certain criminals are put back out on the street.”

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“We are fearful for our lives, and we’ve got to defend what’s ours… under any means necessary,” Jacobo said. 

“Hopefully he does get caught again, and it sticks. But… we just don’t see that that’s the case. We really feel like Houston is letting us down on this one.”

Fox News’ Bailee Hill contributed to this report

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