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Burglars Rampage Chaldean Owned Ramona Market
By Huda Metti :: Saturday, March 15, 2008 :: 94257 Views :: Article Rating :: 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.

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St. Thomas, MI USA

St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church
6900 Maple Rd.
West Bloomfield, MI 48322
Tel: (248) 788-2460
Fax: (248) 788-2153

Founding Pastor:
Rev. Hanna Cheikho

Current Pastor:
Rev. Frank Kalabat

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Jirjis Abrahim

Rev. Emmanuel Rayes, Retired  


Rev. Frank Kalabat
 

Rev. Frank Kalabat was born in 1970 in San Diego, California and entered St. Francis Seminary of San Diego, California.  The admission to the Catholic seminary made him the first born U.S. Chaldean to enter an American seminary.  In 1992, Fr. Kalabat continued his studies at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan.  In July 1995, shortly after graduation he was ordained as priest by His Excellency Bishop Ibrahim N. Ibrahim.  

Fr. Frank chose Mother of God Parish in Southfield, MI. as his first assignment serving the Chaldean community as an associate pastor for half a decade.  In 2001, Fr. Kalabat was elected to serve as Pastor of St. Tomas Parish in West Bloomfield, Michigan where he remains today.   

Rev. Jirjis Abrahim

Rev. Jirjis Abrahim was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1942. Upon graduation Fr. Abrahim was admitted to St. Peter Chaldean Seminary in Baghdad, Iraq.  After a decade of studies and numerous degrees, Fr. Abrhim was ordained a priest in 1967.  He chose to continue ministering in Baghdad, Iraq.  There he was appointed the headmaster of the catechism at Mother of Sorrows Cathedral.  Fr. Abrahim also assisted St. Therese Church in Baghdad until 1978.  Afterward he was asked to assist St. Joseph Church in Baghdad and was appointed Parochial Vicar from 1978-1992. 

In 1992, Fr. Abrahim was called upon to assist the growing Chaldean population in Michigan.  Upon his arrival he was assigned to St. Joseph Church in Tory, Michigan.  Two years later Fr. Abrahim was asked to become the pastor of a Parish community in Windsor, Canada  where he remained the parish pastor until 2001.

Continuing demographic changes in Michigan required Fr. Abrahim to return to St. Joseph Parish in Tory as a Parochial Vicar, where he remained until 2006.  In 2006 he was elected to St. Thomas Parish as Parochial Vicar in West Bloomfield, MI. where he currently serves the Chaldean community.

 

Rev. Emmanuel Rayes

Rev. Emmanuel Rays was born in Araden, Iraq in 1930.  He studied at St. John Dominican Seminary and was ordained to the priesthood in 1954.  The Chaldean catholic ambassador ministered in northern Iraq from 1954-1963, in Syria and Lebanon from 1963-1980, and in the United Stated from 1980 to the present day.
 
Form 1980-1983, he was appointed associate pastor at Mother of God Parish in Southfield, Michigan.  From 1983-1989 he served as pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Detroit, Michigan.  During the early 1990’s he ministered to the Chaldean community in Farmington Hills and was at St. Joseph Parish in Tory where he was Parochial Vicar until 2000.

Although Fr. Rayes retired in 2001, he remains active in serving the community.  He is the author of many articles in Arabic and is the editor-in-chief of the Al Mishal and Al-Tariq magazine.  He has translated and continues to translate many books from French and English into Arabic.