Orange County restaurant burglaries have business owners on edge



ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Deputies said they're investigating a string of restaurant burglaries in east Orange County and one man is believed to be responsible for them.

On Sunday, a burglar was caught on surveillance video smashing his way through a glass window at Rice and Beans on Alafaya Trail after workers and customers cleared out for the night.

He tried to pry open the cash drawer with a crowbar, but eventually just took the whole thing.

“Whoever did this, it was someone professional who knows what they’re doing,” said restaurant manager Adonis Hernandez.

In the past three weeks, Orange County deputies have tallied at least 21 burglaries in the area.

They believe one man is targeting the businesses.

Guavate was one of three restaurants targeted in a single night.

“They’re specifically going for restaurants in this area, small businesses,” said restaurant worker Wilfred Santiago.

Investigators said when The Mellow Mushroom was burglarized this past week, the suspect smashed the glass and police came when the alarm went off.

The robber allegedly waited until police left and went back inside.

Now, many restaurant owners have enhanced their security.

Workers said they only wish a community crime alert had gone out since the spree started last month.

“This was news to us, we found out the hard way,” Hernandez said.

The owners told WFTV the costliest part of the ordeal has been repairing all the damage.