Far east side grocery vandalized days after opening

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A busted window, a cracked door and likely hundreds of dollars in repairs. That's what Robert Hearts discovered this week, just days after opening A & I Variety Meats and Produce.

"I was in shock and awe in the beginning," he said. "Going through my head, like wow, why would somebody do this to me? I just opened up. I'm trying to do something to help the community and stuff."

Hearst said he decided to open a grocery store after seeing a need for healthy food options in the area and has a goal for the store to be a space for the community.

"This Far East Side community, really stepped up, really stepped up," Hearst said.

He said there's already a community day planned next month for volunteers to help. He didn't file a police report, but said police stopped by to check in.

Meanwhile on Friday, police worked to reach out to more residents on the far east side, too.

IMPD, OPHS, BNS and community partners teamed up to bring critical resources to neighbors in the area of 21st and Mitthoeffer.

"I think that's nice. If I need the help I know to go," one resident said after an engagement team knocked on her door.

The teams went door to door at apartment complexes and hosted a resource fair, covering everything from code enforcement to health concerns.

"This was addressing some of the concerns citizens had," Office Nathan Shell said. "Recently IMPD was alerted that there was an increase in gun violence and narcotics activity that kind of alarmed us 'cuz it was uncommon for this area, so we felt best that we start addressing it in this manner."

Shell said they hope it helps reduce crime.

And just minutes away, Hearst hopes his shop helps the far east side, too.

"A staple of the community, a pillar of this community, a store where people can come just if they want to get away for a minute, talk or whatever" Hearts said.

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