With easy access, ready cash, and low security, restaurants are being targeted by Los Angeles armed robbers more frequently than gas stations, markets, and banks, says the Los Angeles Daily News. Citywide, 580 restaurants were robbed last year; eateries along busy thoroughfares were targets because bandits can melt into crowds and have quick freeway access.
“Robbers have determined that restaurants are easy pickings,” said City Councilman Dennis Zine, a retired police sergeant. Two armed men were scared off before they could rob Monique Patton, owner of a soul food restaurant in the San Fernando Valley. “I saw one of them get out of the car, and he had a rifle about as long as my arm,” Patton said. “It scared the hell out of me. I went out and got me a (firearm) after that. I feel a little bit more secure now. I go to the shooting range all the time.”
All types of restaurants are being targeted — chain and family-run establishments, fast-food eateries, and elegant spots. Most crimes occur when a restaurant is about to close, there are few remaining customers, and the staff is counting receipts. Detectives are seeking a man they nicknamed “the Asian Restaurant Bandit” who is believed to have committed as many as 40 robberies.