Leeway Franks owners grateful for community’s support after burglary; investigation is ongoing

photo by: Richard Gwin/Journal-World File Photo

Leeway Franks, 935 Iowa St., is pictured in this Journal-World file photo from July 2015.

Lee and K Meisel didn’t let a recent burglary at their restaurant and butcher shop hold up business for long, though the emotional impact is lingering and the investigation is still underway.

However, the married business partners who own Leeway Franks and Leeway Butcher, 935 Iowa St., told the Journal-World that the community has rallied around them since they discovered the robbery Friday morning.

Some cash and some other items had been stolen, K said, and some of the physical property had been damaged. No one was in the business at the time of the break-in, though, and Lee said it “could have been a lot worse.”

“There was no threat of violence; no one was injured,” he said. “There’s just so many things that go through your mind when you walk into something like that.”

In a tweet Friday morning, Leeway Franks announced that opening would be delayed that day because the business had been robbed. Immediately, the support started pouring in, Lee said.

“It was very heartwarming to have that, to hear from people who we respect in the community who reached out to us,” Lee said.

K said the community in the Hillcrest Neighborhood checked on them, and other business owners in the area who had experienced similar incidents reached out to offer their sympathies and support. “Violated” was a word many people had used to describe how they had felt, K said, and she thought that was a good way to put it.

Lee said Lawrence does have a “deep, community feel,” and that’s why the couple put down roots here. Leeway Franks opened in July 2015, and the butcher shop followed in December 2018; those years have all been without incident, Lee said.

The couple said they do have empathy for the person or people who broke in, who were willing to break the law and risk getting thrown in jail over what amounted to a little bit of money, Lee said.

“It kind of puts it in perspective that there’s people out there hurting a lot worse than we are,” Lee said.

“We’re really sympathetic to whatever people must be going through to make that kind of decision,” K added. “… It’s a hard time for everyone.”

Lee said that as of Wednesday afternoon, there were still a few things they were in the process of fixing, but they’re still operational. They had managed to open before noon Friday.

“We didn’t want to let it slow us down or anything — we just did what we know how to do, which is clean up the mess and just get back to work,” Lee said.

Lawrence police are still investigating the incident, Lt. David Ernst said via email Tuesday. Police ask that anyone with information call the department at 785-832-7509 or call Crime Stoppers of Lawrence and Douglas County at 785-843-TIPS (7477). Tips to Crime Stoppers can be anonymous.

Contact Mackenzie Clark

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