FORT MYERS, Fla-- A Southwest Florida restaurant claims vandals are targeting their business. LaMotta's Italian Restaurant in Ft.Myers said in recent weeks they've experienced power outages, gas leaks and stolen signs and believe all of the incidents have been intentional.
"I could smell natural gas from the outside, it was a strong scent so I opened the door slowly to air it out and I walked in here and it was completely covered in natural gas scent," said store owner Carmelo LaMotta.
LaMotta said last week he returned from a 3-day weekend to the strong smell of natural gas. After a little investigating behind his store, he realized someone had cut the gas line to his restaurant. He immediately called the fire department and the gas company to monitor the levels. LaMotta said it cost him thousands of dollars and forced the restaurant to close an extra day.
However, that's not the only damage they've experienced in recent weeks.
"We noticed that somebody pulled the main electric panel down only on our building, no on else's, only on ours," said LaMotta.
LaMotta filed reports with LCSO. He said every year when season ends and restaurants start to slow down, he believes competitors get desperate.
"To the point where they go and write bad reviews, destroy people signs, spray paint the side of the buildings, they try and make you, degrade your business so people don't come to you and they go to them," said LaMotta.
Within the last week the restaurant has installed security cameras, put a lock on the electrical switch and is monitoring the gas line. LaMotta said he has a message for whoever is responsible.
"So if you are going to rip down signs, you're going to go on Yelp or Trip Advisor and write bad reviews go ahead, because those we can fix, but hurting someone's life is not worth it for this," said LaMotta.
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