When Raul Rios walked into his restaurant Mijitas on the morning of Dec. 27, he found that the security cameras had been turned around. Confused, he asked his wife Lisa about the cameras’ peculiar directionality, and it was then they realized their restaurant had been burglarized.
“We were very thankful we had been warned and had locked up all of our valuables,” said Lisa, who co-owns the restaurant with her husband. “We took precautions.”
Lisa had been alerted to a burglar on the prowl by Mia Kartiganer, owner of Mia’s, another restaurant in Eastsound that had been the target of a break-in the week prior.
Lisa said the perpetrator used a lock pick to enter through the front entryway around 11:50 p.m. on Dec. 26. He noticed the cameras right away and turned all of them around, except for one.
“He just helped himself to a couple of beers on draft and a couple of bucks out of petty cash,” she said.
The camera in the bar caught the thief on film as he rifled through cabinets and emptied a small box of money. Lisa said she was surprised that he didn’t take any of the equipment in the building, just alcohol and cash.
The video, which was released by the Sheriff’s Office to the Journal has been shared by more than 150 people on social media and viewed more than 9,000 times. It shows a male, wearing a hoodie, surgical mask and surgical gloves. He is seen at eye level with a shelf, which Lisa said would put his height at over 6 feet.
“I suspect putting this video online will put a stop to them for a while,” said Sheriff Ron Krebs. “We’re hoping for someone to come forward who recognizes him.”
The Sheriff’s Office is asking that if anyone has any information as to who is perpetrating these crimes to call or contact an on-duty deputy. The anonymous tip line is 370-7629.
Mijitas and Mia’s weren’t the only places burglarized around the holidays. Five business were broken into and had items stolen from Dec. 23 to 27. The door of the liquor store was tampered with, but the break-in attempt failed. The Madrona Bar and Grill was one of the restaurants the burglar struck, breaking into the business twice over the week. Owner Monica Duthie said the thief returned two days after the initial burglary and stole “a bunch” of alcohol. The Orcas Island Library was burglarized on Friday, Dec. 16 around 11:45 p.m. An unknown subject stole $20 from a donation jar and a GoPro video camera.
Some of the things you can do to make your business less inviting are: make sure you have good quality locks on all doors and windows and never leave cash in your business that is not locked in a safe. Video surveillance is always helpful. For help or questions, contact the Sheriff’s Office at 378-4151.
“Somebody out there knows who did it,” said Krebs. “Right now, we’re still investigating.”