Royal Kitchen camera captures customer stealing

Published On: Feb 04 2013 10:44:00 PM HST

A crime between customers is captured at the Royal Kitchen in Chinatown.

Owners had seen many crimes committed outside their restaurant over the decades, so they installed surveillance video cameras several years ago.

Those cameras were rolling when a rip-off artist targeted an elderly customer inside the shop.

The Royal Kitchen is a popular place for people to grab a bite to eat, but last Friday a customer grabbed more than just food.

"Someone lifted a woman's handbag from the handlebars of the woman's wheelchair," said Royal Kitchen manager Liana Benn.

After the elderly woman and her daughter discovered the purse was missing, Benn checked the restaurant's security video. There she saw the whole shocking theft right before her eyes.

"I was surprised it happened in broad daylight, with four of our staff workers across the counter looking. They had no idea it had happened," said Benn.

After sifting through a lot of surveillance video, Benn also discovered the suspected thief had been around quite a while.

"He had already been lurking around the parking lot, looking in my car and others," said Benn.

In fact, after the elderly woman and her daughter pulled into the parking lot and went inside, the man went to their car.  On the video, he appeared to try to push the window open but was unsuccessful.

The man then went into the Royal Kitchen, where he entered then left several times before making his move.

At one point, he even appeared to look into the woman's purse on the back of the wheelchair.

"At first he says 'No, I don't want anything I'm just checking out the prices.'  Then when he was ready to lift the handbag, he made a purchase. He went forward, paid for it and quickly lifted the bag," said Benn.

After taking the purse, the man doesn't even leave right away, instead he waits for his change.

Once the man disappears the elderly woman realized she had been ripped off.

"She was upset, she knew her handbag was missing. It was a shock to her," said Benn.

Benn said the suspected purse-snatcher was spotted at the Chinese Cultural Plaza later that night, but police were unable to arrest him because he did not have any of the woman's belongings on him.

She hopes the video will lead to his arrest and also encourage others to take preventative action to protect their belongings.


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