BRADENTON -- As he sat on a brown armchair Monday afternoon inside Latte Luna, David Short's face was brightened by sunlight beaming from a nearby window.
Just a week ago, the same window had been shattered and items stolen in a break-in at the coffee shop at 2715 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.
The Bradenton Police Department responded to a burglary report by a delivery man at 7 a.m. Aug. 5. The caller reported two rear doors were open and a side window smashed during the crime.
Short said he believes the burglary took place sometime between 11 p.m. Wednesday and early Tuesday.
"At first I thought it was a joke or something," said
27-year-old Short, whose mother, Debra, owns the popular coffee lounge.
Items stolen include a Nintendo 64 and nearly 40 video games -- all from Short's personal collection dating back almost two decades, including "The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask," its cartridge coated in a gold color, and "Perfect Dark," a first-person shooter video game released more than a decade ago.
For Short, pieces of his childhood were taken along with the burglary. The games also meant a lot to customers today, he said, including many who spent time together over the game console when it was first released in 1996.
"It's kind of disappointing that you would take that away from the people that come here. It's really a community thing," he said. "It's not something we're charging people. It's something that's fun for Bradenton to come in and relax and enjoy the atmosphere and play games with your friends."
Support has poured in for Latte Luna since the incident, the owner said. Last Saturday, local musicians performed at the lounge and donated more than $120 in tips to the business, which is roughly what the window replacement cost.
"It was so generous of them to do that," Debra Short said Monday.
The crime is the first she has experienced as a business owner since opening Latte Luna in May 2013, she said.
"I was sad," she said, adding she thought about how many youngsters hang out at the coffee lounge. "I felt bad for the kids."
According to Capt. William Fowler of the BPD, the case has been assigned to a detective for a follow-up investigation.
"We don't have any leads currently that I'm aware of," he said via email Monday. "I do have patrolmen hitting the surrounding area with close patrols and looking for suspicious individuals that might be loitering around the neighborhood in the immediate area."
The game system once sat on top of a burgundy-colored dresser in a small, bright room by the Latte Luna entrance. The games were stored in a drawer, which is now missing.
David Short suspects those who did this were younger.
"The opening to get through the window was significantly small so it would have to have been a tinier person to fit through there without getting cut up," he said.
No money was stolen.
"We forgive them for what they did and we hope that we can help them go on a better path," said Debra Short.
Short said he doesn't expect any of his childhood mementos to be returned.
"I'm not looking to get anything back but I love the fact that we do have a community that is willing to help out," he said, "The thought is what matters. I'm just glad to know that we have people that do support us and like what we do here."
Amaris Castillo, Law Enforcement/Island Reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7051. You can follow her on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.