Smitty’s Restaurant in Duncan has been the victim of three break-ins since Sept. 5, with the latest one on Wednesday night.
The thief in the first break-in walked off with a small but heavy safe from the restaurant’s office containing $6,000.
Jagmohan Rawat, a part owner of the restaurant, said he and his staff have reviewed the video tape of the three incidents, which all occurred early in the morning, and believe it’s the same culprit.
Rawat said the perpetrator’s face was clearly visible in the last video, and the shape and mannerisms of the thief were identical in all three.
Rawat said a number of his staff think they have identified the thief as a former employee of both the restaurant and the adjacent Super 8 Motel.
He said the police are investigating, but officials at the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment were unavailable for comment by press time.
“Some of our staff are frightened as a result of these incidents and we want to see [the break-ins] stopped,” Rawat said.
In the latest incident, the thief broke a window in the rear of the restaurant’s lounge at 3:35 a.m. Wednesday morning, took food from the kitchen and liquor from the bar and went out the fire exit less than four minutes later.
The second break-in, which took place on Sept. 8, saw the thief enter the restaurant from the hotel section of the building and take two cases of beer.
Rawat said staff believe he may have had a key to enter the restaurant in that incident.
The thief broke the back door into the kitchen in the first incident on Sept. 5, cut into the drywall next to the office and left with the safe.
A restaurant employee, who asked not to be identified, hopes the police will finally be able to bring the break-ins to a halt.
“I hope they can do something this time,” he said. “We are doing everything we can to secure the facility, but it’s difficult to make the whole building safe. We’re finding the situation very difficult and frustrating.”