Grocery owner robbed, assaulted days before Christmas

Jon Wilcox By Jon Wilcox

Dec. 30, 2016 at 9:42 p.m.
Updated Dec. 31, 2016 at midnight

From left to right, Adan Chavana, 87; Adan Chavana Jr., 40; and Berta Salazar Chavana, 82.

From left to right, Adan Chavana, 87; Adan Chavana Jr., 40; and Berta Salazar Chavana, 82.   contributed photo for The Victoria Advocate

Adan Chavana Jr. was sickened to learn who had been charged with robbing and assaulting his father the week before.

One of the men is the son and nephew of his childhood friends.

"We grew up together. That is why it is so hard to take," said Port Lavaca native Chavana, 40. "He has no idea the history our families have."

Jeremy Rene Hysquierdo, 20, was arrested Friday on a warrant charging him with aggravated robbery. Chavana said he remembers playing backyard football with Hysquierdo's father and uncles.

"I guarantee he didn't get this from his father or his uncle, Simon," Chavana said. "I don't understand it. You don't do this to your neighborhood."

Brandon Felix Escobar, 18, was arrested Dec. 21 on suspicion of evading arrest soon after the robbery occurred. He now also has a warrant charging him with aggravated robbery.

Escobar and Hysquierdo remained in the Calhoun County Jail on Friday.

Business owner Adan Chavana, 87, was closing Chavana's Grocery and Market, which he and his wife have owned and operated since 1952, when he was hit hard on the head on the evening of Dec. 21.

"I was locking the door, and I had my money bag in my hand," the elder Chavana said.

The robbers made off with tens of thousands of dollars of cash and checks, leaving the 87-year-old man injured.

The elder Chavana was bed-ridden by the injury for days and has since suffered reoccurring dizzy spells. Although Chavana's mother, who also regularly works at the grocery, was not present during the robbery, she has suffered in her own way.

"She's worried, but she won't show it," her son said.

Days after the robbery, Port Lavaca Police Department investigators were able to obtain warrants for aggravated robbery for Escobar and Hysquierdo, said Police Chief Colin Rangnow.

But the arrests don't make up for the damages, the younger Chavana said.

"The money is gone. The money is done," he said.

The grocery is responsible for making up a majority of the stolen money. Chavana said he does not recall ever interacting with Escobar's kin, but he nevertheless was shocked by the men's alleged actions.

"This generation just doesn't understand what (my father's) generation has done to get where they are at," he said.

For more than 60 years, the elder Chavana and his wife have served their neck of Port Lavaca, but they have given their neighbors far more than groceries and check cashing services, their son said.

The grocery owner and his wife routinely helped their neighbors by looking the other way with delinquent bills and offering meals during the holidays.

"My parents grew up very poor, but they were not the type of people to let anyone go hungry," Chavana said. "They just weren't."

Despite the violence experienced by the grocery owner and amount of money stolen, the elder Chavana is not ready to give up the business.

In fact, Chavana said he had difficulty convincing his father to remain in bed instead of working the day after the robbery.

While the crime has left the family with bitterness, Chavana admits, they are beginning to believe in the kindness of neighbors.

Neighbors have stopped by to help the couple by stocking refrigerators and performing random tasks. Visitors ask how the injured owner is recovering, and, recently, a 14-year-old girl brought a dozen tamales for the family to enjoy.

"We really, truly appreciate that," he said.


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