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Ukrainian-owned café in Adams Morgan burglarized nearly a year after being targeted by arsonist

Anastasia Duren said that her business was burglarized early Thursday morning. The business has made headlines for raising $25,000 for Ukraine.

WASHINGTON — Thieves stole thousands of dollars worth of equipment from an Adams Morgan café Thursday morning, nearly one year after that same business was hit by an arsonist.

Owners of the D. Light Café and Bakery told WUSA9 that staff found the front door shattered when they arrived just after 5:00 a.m. Their point-of-sale system, an electric piano, and their alarm system were all stolen. 

The thieves even ate some of the café's croissants from the kitchen, before leaving the scene.

Owner Anastasia Derun said that this was likely worth well-over $5,000. Just hours after the robbery, Derun said she was concerned about not being able to serve her customers. 

Credit: WUSA9
Anastasia Duren said her cafe was burglarized early Thursday morning.

"I’m letting them down," she said. "And it’s breaking my heart.”  

The burglary comes nearly one year to the day since an arsonist targeted their business. According to DC Police, surveillance cameras captured footage of a suspect "igniting combustible floral decorations" outside of the store on January 27, 2022.

Credit: Anastasia Derun
An arsonist set fire to the decorations outside of D. Light Cafe and Bakery on January 27, 2022

Derun said that this fire caused approximately $8,000 worth of damage. The fire came just months after Anastasia opened the business, along with her sister, Vira. 

“We understood that it was not going to be so easy," she said. "But we didn’t know it was going to be so stressful.”

Following the fire, the Adams Morgan community stepped up to help, raising approximately $13,000 for the café.   

But weighing on Anastasia’s mind the most is the War in Ukraine. She was born and raised near Bucha, and her family is still there.

"For the first two months – I had this thought in my head," she said. "I wanted to go fight in Ukraine. My mom and dad were literally going crazy over that. My sister was like ‘don’t talk insane stuff.”

Credit: WUSA9
Shattered glass at the D. Light Cafe and Bakery, following Thursday burglary

But the Derun sisters have been helping the cause, raising money for the Ukraine war effort. Since the war began, they’ve raised $25,000 from this AdMo community. 

Between a brutal war, a devastating fire, and a burglary, we asked Derun how she was keeping it together. 

“I think just because I’m Ukrainian," she said. "I don't know. Seriously, I think it's my education - like what my parents told me to do - to toughen up no matter what happens." 

Derun doesn't know when they will be able to open back up, but she's hopeful to do so by Tuesday. 

As of Thursday afternoon, Derun said she had not yet called her family in Ukraine because she didn't want to give more bad news to people going through so much already. 

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