DC pizza shop owner fed up over city’s crime: ‘Fallen into anarchy’

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The owner of a pizza restaurant in Washington, D.C., is fed up with rising crime and its impact on business, saying the nation’s capital city has “fallen into anarchy.”

Mariya Rusciano, owner of Menomale pizza restaurant in Northeast D.C., posted on social media last week to mark the “official start of the holiday season, AKA, robbery season!” by noting, “We’ve been consistently robbed over the holidays for several years now.” 

The post indicated that Menomale was robbed Wednesday night and that the nearby Italian deli she owns called Salumeria has been robbed during the holiday season as well.

“We have no CASH on premises, discourage CASH payments, keep the minimum supplies in stock,” Rusciano wrote in another post on X, formerly Twitter. “There is literally nothing to rob, but the criminals do not care, because DC has fallen into ANARCHY!”

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Rusciano told WTOP that the crime in D.C. used to be unusual but has become so commonplace that it’s causing anxiety among business owners like herself.

“It used to be abnormal, and now we perceive it as normal,” Rusciano told WTOP. “Every time the holidays come, we just feel a sense of anxiety and … the anticipation like something might happen at any moment.”

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aerial view of Washington, DC

Rusciano’s restaurant has been in business in the Brookland neighborhood of D.C. for 11 years, a period in which she said the crime problem has worsened.

She told WTOP that Menomale has been victimized by about five break-ins in recent years, while Salumeria has experienced about three break-ins. While her stores minimize the amount of cash on hand, the burglars will find other items to steal, such as the restaurants’ liquor or wine.

“I think that the city is experiencing an abnormal time. I don’t believe that this is the normal state of affairs,” Rusciano told WTOP. “We are really looking to our city leadership to take bold steps to address this and reassure people that D.C. is safe and that D.C. has wonderful businesses worth visiting.”

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