Break-in victim: Valencia plaza is a dark, deserted place after hours

A boarded up door greats would-be customers at Nealie's Skillet in Valencia following an early-morning break in on Tuesday, April 30. Cory Rubin/The Signal

When businesses close at the plaza between Tournament Road and Singing Hills Drive, the place becomes a dark and isolated place, says Neal Scott, owner of Nealie’s Skillet, which was broken into for the third time this week.

“I don’t know what else I can do,” Scott said Tuesday, the day after thieves broke into the popular family-run breakfast spot.

When the restaurant is open for business, the Vista Village Center plaza, which hosts a U.S. postal outlet, a bar and grill and a liquor store, is bright and alive with traffic.

“When everything closes, it’s dark with a lot of transients,” Scott said. “I’ve been here at 5 in the morning, and there are people strung out and going through the trash.”

At 3:30 a.m. Tuesday, thieves smashed the front door of the Valencia family business.

In watching the surveillance video, Scott said he noticed something curious.

“Over 15 minutes, the guy (thief) looks in twice. A car scares him off the first time,” Scott said.

“When it was clear, he goes to the window and makes sure no one is around and then he throws a rock through the window,” he said.

There’s no traffic at the plaza early in the morning.

Nealie’s Skillet opened their doors in January 2016. Two years later on Jan. 3, 2018, a thief broke in and stole $4,000.

Five days after the break-in, video surveillance caught what looked like a gang of three people breaking into the business a second time.

Now, after replacing the door glass, Scott is installing more cameras, motion detectors to light up the area and an alarm with a siren.

Last month, detectives with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station investigating the first break-in returned to Nealie’s Skillet with good news.

“They told me they arrested the guy,” Scott said. “He (suspect) is going to pay me back $4,000 in restitution. We were really excited to hear the news.”

That was a month before the latest break-in.

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On Twitter @jamesarthurholt

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