Thief at Thai Coconut, but why take wind chimes?

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Thai Coconut patio with damaged plants after the recent robbery in Los Angeles, CA. Feb. 9, 2023. Mali Abel/The Occidental.

Wind chimes often symbolize good luck — some people see them as a tool to keep evil spirits away.

And yet, Feb. 2 at around 6 a.m., a person lept over a white gate onto the patio of Eagle Rock’s Thai Coconut, according to server Sabrina Dadlani. Dadlani, who works at Thai Coconut, said the intruder stole a ceramic waterfall, large outdoor heater and a wind chime.

The intruder had a gray beard and wore glasses and a black hoodie, although Dadlani said the intruder has not yet been found or identified.

Dadlani said that metal nowadays is expensive, so perhaps that was the logic behind the wind chime theft.

“Metal [and] stainless steel can be sold for money,” Dadlani said. “I remember people told me that a catalytic converter could be sold for $700, $800.”

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Sabrina Dadlani, Thai Coconut manager, speaks about the recent robbery on the patio of Thai Coconut in Los Angeles, CA. Feb. 9, 2023. Mali Abel/The Occidental.

Putting the speculative going rate of wind chimes aside, another server, Jutaporn Aimjay, said she was the first to discover the mess the trespasser left. She said she works mornings and saw the plants knocked down and the items missing, so she checked their CCTV to investigate.

“For me, I kind of forgive him. But the owner maybe [does] not,” Aimjay said. “My family taught me to forgive people.”

Aimjay said she maybe forgives too easily — she ended up tidying up the mess left on the patio. The trespasser squashed some of their succulents, although Dadlani said their kaffir lime tree, which the restaurant takes leaves from to put in their tom yum soup, was left unscathed.

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Jutaporn Aimjai, a Thai Coconut server, speaks about the recent robbery on the patio of Thai Coconut in Los Angeles, CA. Feb. 9, 2023. Mali Abel/The Occidental.

“I feel bad for [the trespasser] too,” Dadlani said. “I see from the pictures that he looks old.”

Chairs have also gone missing from this patio before, and people have thrown items through their patio’s fence, Dadlani said. For security purposes, the restaurant added a wooden barrier on top of one side of the existing fence months ago.

However, not all interactions with the community are negative. Dadlani said that during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, the restaurant decided to take photos of the customers outside so that they could print those photos and hang them on posters that say “family,” inside of Thai Coconut.

Speaking of the positives, Dadlani said the owner allows her to take her two kids to the restaurant for a period of time after their school.

“Everything is about my kids, so the tattoos [that I have represent how] my kid was born in the Year of the Snake, and another one in the Year of the Monkey,” Dadlani said.

The people who work at the restaurant are all Thai, and Aimjay said that the owner helped her to secure a green card.

Another server, Lisa Chaowadecha, is the owner’s niece and she said that Aimjay is her closest friend at the restaurant.

“[Aimjay and I] talk about everything, like life, boyfriends, hang out places to go,” Chaowadecha said.

Chaowadecha said they like to go to other Thai restaurants such as Thai Hollywood. She said they do not feel guilty about eating at other Thai restaurants because each place is totally different.

As for Thai Coconut, Chaowadecha said that the police said they have plans to come and look around the restaurant. Concerns still exist because Chaowadecha said that a man came to the restaurant Feb. 9 who ordered chicken satay and who looked similar to the suspect.

“I am scared he’s going to come back,” Chaowadecha said.

Chaowadecha said that there are no plans to replace the stolen items.

“Yeah, we want [a new heat lamp] but I don’t think the owner will buy one because she said customers can eat inside to save costs,” Chaowadecha said.

Chaowadecha said that her favorite item to order at Thai Coconut is the green curry, and customers commonly order their pad see ew, pad thai and yellow curry.

The Thai Coconut continues to operate without the presence of its wind chimes at 1801 Colorado Blvd.

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