Two restaurants at 5 Utility Drive in Palm Coast–Millennium Bistro Café and Mr. Pancho Mexican Grill–were the targets of burglaries early Thursday morning by a pair of burglars who, in one of the restaurants, appeared to know their way around, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office reported. The burglars stole some $4,000 in cash from one business and $150 from another, causing about $600 in damage along the way and the loss of about $500 worth of food that had been stored in a fridge they’d left open. The burglars, described below, are at large.
The owners had left the Bistro at 7 p.m. Wednesday evening after securing all doors. When they returned this morning, the front door to the restaurant was unlocked. The bottom front glass window on the door had been shattered. The cash register was open and some $150 was missing. Nothing else seemed to be missing, and nothing else appeared damaged at first glance by the owner. But the refrigerator next to the cash register had been opened and the food inside, about $500 worth, had spoiled. A deputy found that the burglar or burglars had forced their way in through the bottom right window at the front of the business.
One of the owners had reviewed surveillance video from his phone. The video shows that at 2 a.m., two suspects break the front window with an object and enter the store. They made their way around the store before eventually opening the cash register and pocketing the money. They were in the store no more than three minutes.
“While watching the video surveillance, one of the suspects appears to be a black male, wearing a white shirt, while wearing what appears to be a white Baklava,” the deputy reported. “The suspect is also seen wearing black pants, black shoes, and gloves on both of his hands. I also observed the second suspect which appears to be a male, wearing a black/grey hoodie, with a white mask, black pants and shoes, with gloves on both of his hands.”
The scene was soon turned over to detectives. Deputies also contacted the owner of Benjamin Moore Paint Company (who happens to be president of the Chamber of Commerce) to view the video surveillance from the back alley of the plaza. “The owner advised he will review the surveillance video and contact the Sheriff’s Office if he locates anyone matching the description of the suspects or any suspicious vehicles from the time of the burglaries,” the incident report states. “At this time the suspects remain unknown.”
The burglars did much the same at Mr. Pancho Mexican Grill. The glass to the front door had been shattered, enabling entry. The owners told deputies that they’d watched one of their 10 employees secure the restaurant after closing time at 11 p.m. through their surveillance cameras. After becoming aware of the burglary, they’d reviewed overnight surveillance, noticing that at about 2:15, two suspects broke the front glass and entered. They appeared to know their way around the business, according to the owner, “and did not have any trouble looking for a light switch that he believes is located in an odd location.”
The motion-sensitive cameras turned off at 2:17, with no footage of the suspects leaving.
The cash register behind the bar and the area of the server station had been rummaged through. No cash is left in the register overnight. But an 18×12 inch black safe containing approximately $4,000 dollars was stolen from the locked office, whose door jamb had pry marks. Nothing else appeared to be missing, including the high-end liquor, which was left untouched, nor were numerous electronics–tablets, laptops.
The suspects in the video matched the description of the suspects in the Bistro video.
Damage to the doors was estimated at $245 each.