RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Village Café, a popular restaurant for VCU students located in the 1000 block of W Grace Street in Richmond, was burglarized after a man snuck in and hid until the restaurant was closed and everyone left for the night.
According to the general manager, the suspect came in through a propped-open back door and hid inside of the men's bathroom on Wednesday night. The door was propped open to let fumes out because a person was there cleaning the floor at the end of the night.
"He hid in the bathroom, kind of scoped the place out and then hid under a table while one of my bartenders was here closing," said Lauren Dilisio, the general manager of the restaurant.
The table was in the corner of a backroom, an unsuspecting place. The bartender closing didn't see him, left and locked up.
"He came back out when he saw she locked the doors and went through one of our safes, went upstairs and got into the office and grabbed another safe."
He stole $600 total and bottles of liquor. He couldn't open one of the safes either, so he carried it around with him. The suspect also tried to pry open a cash register but wasn't able to.
After going on his crime spree, he traveled upstairs to the roof where he jumped off with the money, liquor and safe.
"My bartender and I the next day went up there and looked over and found the safe busted open at the bottom with a bunch of milk cartons," Dilisio said. "There is no way if he did jump, that he wouldn't get injured."
They recovered some of the money that scattered during the fall.
A bartender opening the next day is the person who realized something had happened. The alarm had gone off the night before when the suspect exited the building but managers thought it was due to a faulty door.
"He came in and called me and was like where's all the money," Dilisio said. "We looked at the security footage, and it was terrifying"
The incident, understandably so, is shaking up employees.
"We're going to have to have a bigger meeting about safety and precaution," Dilisio said. "I want my employees to feel safe here because I'm sure right now they don't and that makes me really angry someone ruined our dynamic."
Police are searching for a light-skinned African American man who is about 5'7, 5'8. Police believe he is in his early 50's. He was wearing a black jacket with a popped collar and an old Georgetown baseball cap.
"My last concern is the money that's missing; it's the safety and finding this guy, he's probably done it before," Dilisio said.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call CrimeStoppers at 804-780-1000 or use the P3 Tips app to submit information.
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