LAKEVIEW — A hammer-wielding vandal smashed nearly every window and glass door at the popular Sheffield’s Beer and Wine Garden in Lakeview early Saturday — and bar workers think they know who did it.
“We know who it was. We got him on surveillance video,” said one Sheffield’s employee. Another employee was more specific.
“He’s a lawyer who we banned more than a month ago. He’d come in and get all drunk and start bumping into walls and hitting on people,” the other employee said.
Rocky Albazi, who has owned the restaurant and bar at 3258 N. Sheffield Avenue for nearly 30 years, said he wasn’t sure who the hoody-wearing, hammer swinging vandal in the surveillance video is, but he’s working with Chicago Police to solve it.
In all, 16 windows and two glass doors were smashed around 4 a.m. Saturday.
After a busy Friday night, Sheffield’s closed at 2 a.m. Saturday, and the last staffer left about 2:30 a.m., Albazi said.
Several Sheffield’s employees who live in the apartment above the bar were awakened around 4 a.m. by the sound of breaking glass.
“They rushed downstairs and probably missed the perpetrator by 3 or 4 minutes. We have him on surveillance video from inside and outside of the bar,” Albazi said.
“We’ve never had anything like this happen,” Albazi said, adding that nearby neighbors along with his employees called police and that the bar has surveillance cameras both inside and outside the bar that captured the incident.
Twelve windows and two glass doors on the School Street side of the building were broken, along with four windows on the Sheffield Avenue side.
Chicago police spokesman Michael Carroll said police are investigating but no one is currently in custody. As to whether it was a random event or a targeted one, Carroll said “If I was a detective I’d say it looks like the guy knows them.”
He added that no other establishments in the area have been vandalized lately.
Albazi said he talked to police but has not yet to talked to detectives. After being told about the incident early Saturday, he went to the bar and helped clean up the broken glass, which was scattered all over the floor and booths inside the bar and the sidewalk outside.
A board-up company was called, and signs were taped to plywood informing the public that despite the incident, the bar opened on time Saturday.
Albazi, who said the bar is insured, said replacing the windows will be a “hassle” because of the age of the building.
“It’s a 120-year-old building so you can’t just order windows. They have to be custom made and that will take some time, and then you need a warm day to install them,” Albazi said.
On Saturday, despite the boarded up windows, the bar was packed as usual — and with two big events coming up — Super Bowl Sunday and the bar’s annual chili cook-off February 16, Albazi wants the public to know the bar will be open.
“If he was trying to shut us down, he didn’t do a good job,” Albazi said.