A much-loved St. Louis Park cheesecake bakery was burglarized and ransacked over the weekend, prompting customers and friends to donate thousands of dollars to repair the damage done.
Suspects apparently broke in through the ceiling early Saturday morning at Muddy Paws Cheesecake, located near W. 27th Street and Louisiana Avenue S., according to owner Tami Cabrera, and punched holes in two walls and a glass panel in the front door before fleeing.
They took some cash and checkbooks, leaving what she estimated to be about $40,000 in damage.
“They cut a huge hole in the roof and dropped through it,” Cabrera said. “It was snowing in my bakery all day and all night Saturday.”
She added, with a laugh: “They didn’t even take a piece of cheesecake.”
St. Louis Park officers continued to investigate the break-in Wednesday but hadn’t made any arrests, according to spokeswoman Jacqueline Larson. Cabrera said authorities said her shop wasn’t the intended target of the burglary.
Cabrera said that high insurance deductibles make it difficult for small businesses such as Muddy Paws to make claims for destruction caused by thefts.
“That’s why you see a lot of small establishments not survive things like this,” she said.
But when she posted news of the break-in on her Facebook account, friends jumped in to help. Kris Huson, a customer who lives in South St. Paul, launched a GoFundMe campaign over the weekend to help cover repair costs.
More than 430 people had contributed more than $20,000 as of Wednesday evening.
“It’s overwhelming and it’s amazing,” Cabrera said of the fundraising campaign. “I didn’t expect it.”
Muddy Paws donates profits and holds fundraisers for multiple charities and families in need. Huson said she met Cabrera while doing fundraising work for other causes.
Cabrera, Huson said, “deserves someone giving back to her. She would never ask on her own.”
Workers will have to repair the bakery’s roof, walls, the glass panel at the entrance and other related damage, Cabrera said. She also plans to install a security system. She hopes to have all repairs finished within two to three weeks.
“We’re going to get through this,” she said.
Muddy Paws has been a St. Louis Park fixture for 25 years. The bakery makes more than 200 different kinds of cheesecake, amounting to about 12,000 cakes a year.
Cabrera and her crew continued to bake and deliver cheesecakes following the break-in. Some local chefs offered them kitchen space to fill their orders, she said.
“I will pay it forward,” she said. “I’m fueled by all that people have been giving.”
Authorities asked anyone with information about the burglary to call police at 952-924-2600.