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Burglars Rampage Chaldean Owned Ramona Market
By Huda Metti :: Saturday, March 15, 2008 :: 77591 Views :: Law & Order, Business & Finance, Government & Society

California, USA - Three hooded and masked burglars smashed their way into the Ramona Market on Main Street Sunday, March 2, at midnight.   Having disabled the store’s redundant security alarm systems, the burglars rampaged through the store for 30 minutes, breaking registers with a crow bar, strewing papers and inventory all around the store, smashing bottles, and destroying as much as stealing.  Security cameras captured the burglary, showing the robbers wearing hooded sweatshirts, or “hoodies,” over ski masks and wearing gloves.

Main phone lines were cut before they even started the break-in, said store owner Rami Yousif after ordering a third redundancy on the store’s security system. Damage and theft add up to more than $40,000, he said.  Safety was one of the most important reasons the Yousif family bought the Ramona Market, Yousif said.

“My family chose Ramona when we bought the store 15 years ago because it was a nice place to be at, people seemed to be nice, willing to do business. We knew that it would be safe,” he said.  “Five years ago there were times when I forgot to lock the door overnight and everything would be untouched. It was Ramona.”

Not anymore.

This is the second time the store has been vandalized and burglarized in the past three months, he said.  He is concerned his 60-year-old father is upset and has lost his sense of safety.   He is always watching out, because Ramona is not the same way it was, he said.

The Yousifs emigrated to San Diego from Greece in 1992 after fleeing there from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.  Last Monday, an employee arrived to open the store only to find windows broken, doors damaged, and the store a mess.

The computer system was broken, cigarettes and calling cards were stolen, as was about a quarter of the liquor store. The store had to be shut for several hours for cleanup and to replace equipment. Repairs and readjustments took three days.

It appears the burglars had the run of the store and all the time they wanted to take anything they wanted. One of them opened the back door, and their bounty was carried off in a vehicle possibly driven by a fourth accomplice. The back door was left open when the crew arrived in the morning.

Still, video of the burglary shows the images people have grown accustomed to see in the evening news — frantic and agile young men leaping over counters, smashing bottles and ransacking the store.

A flashlight can be seen in the back pocket of one of the burglars, and a closer look at the frames shows these men are prepared with crow bars and disguises, at times deliberate in their actions, at times frenzied.

It is precisely that kind of organized and apparently well-planned crime that has moved Yousif to call for the Ramona business community to band together to protect itself and the peaceful tranquility of Ramona.

He said he does not yet know what form of action or organization the business community can put together, but he thinks it is a necessary step in preserving the Ramona way of life and the security of its business community.

In yet another crime along Main Street, two 18-year-olds reported being assaulted last Monday along Main and 13th streets by a group of between 15 and 18 youngsters, the smallest of whom hit the two men across the head with a pipe.

After stealing money and ATM cards, they left with the warning, “Don’t mess with the B Street Gang.”  One of the victims required medical attention and was unable to work the next day.  Several arrests have been made and sheriff’s detectives are working on identifying other attackers, said Sgt. Rick Turvey.

Regarding the Ramona Market burglary, Turvey said an investigation is ongoing.

St. Joseph, MI USA

St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church
2442 E. Big Beaver Rd.
Troy, MI 48083
Tel: (248) 528-3676
Fax: (248) 524-1957

Congregation Organizer:
Rev. Michael J. Bazzi

Church Constructing Pastor:
Rev. Sarhad Y. Jammo

Current Pastor:
Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Ayad Hanna

 Current Pastor: Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Msgr. Zouhair Toma (Kejbou) was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1947.  He was ordained a priest in Baghdad, Iraq in 1968, and accepted his first assignment to serve the community of Baquba.  The Monsignor’s leadership skills and organizational talents along with his mastery of theology were immediately evident.  He later assisted Sts. Peter and Paul in Al-Salehia, and St. George in New Baghdad.

In August, 1978 Monsignor Toma was called to serve the growing community of persecuted Chaldeans finding refuge in Australia.   Being the fist Chaldean priest to arrive in Australia he quickly established a parish for the Chaldeans in Sydney to serve their social and spiritual needs.  The parish was named after St. Thomas the Apostle and built a rectory. 

In 1989, for his incredible work he was granted the title of Monsignor, Chaldean Patriarchal Vicar for Australia and New Zealand.  Continuing his passionate work to serve the Chaldean community the Monsignor moved the Parish Center to a more accessible location and built a large church campus featuring a modern community center, residence quarters, and administrative offices in 1995. 

In 2003, Monsignor Toma added a magnificent church to replace the previous one in order to serve the fast growing community and also opened two other centers.  The first was Our Lady Guardian of Plants in Melbourne, and the second was Mar Addai the Apostle in Auckland, New Zealand.  Mar Addai in New Zealand included two very large churches along with rectories and community centers.  Overseeing the Patriarchal Vicariate for 28 years, he managed to inspire six more priests to help minister to the fast growing Chaldean community. 

In August 2006, Monsignor chose to assist the St. Thomas the Apostle Diocese in the U.S. as more Catholic churches were being built in America and address the growing need.  On October 2006, Monsignor was incardinated and appointed Pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Troy.