While Mercado and his girlfriend were obeying the stay-at-home mandate last Friday, three men broke into a storage lot on the 3300 block of south Central Avenue and hauled away the couple's only source of revenue.
Mercado made a plea to the people who robbed him of his dream as an independent business owner.
"We are community. I am Latino, so the people that steal the car, they are Latino," he said. "So from Latino to Latino, we're saying to you, do the right thing."
Coronavirus devastates Azusa household, kills family patriarch
The timing could not have been worse. Mercado and his girlfriend had launched their mobile juice bar in February. In March they had to lock it up.
Everything they had was invested in that gleaming stainless steel kitchenette on wheels, selling to fitness-minded beachgoers.
Now their marketing campaign turns to catching crooks. On social media, they are posting pictures, begging for help.
Anyone who has information about the men in a pick-up truck with ladders and a smaller SUV is asked to contact LAPD Newton Division detectives at (323) 846 6592 or reach out to Mercado on his social media under the brand name The Juice Market LA.
"Especially in a situation where we are right now that everyone should be more connected to each other, more present, as opposed to do harm and do bad things like this," said Mercado.