JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The owner of the Pattaya Thai Grille on Kings Street in Riverside is asking for help after a gunman robbed the store and some of its customers Thursday night.
According to Russell Clayton, a man entered the restaurant and pointed a gun at employees and customers. Surveillance video showed the man taking something off the counter, then snatching wallets from a man and woman standing near the counter.
No one was hurt in the robbery, but it's the latest high-profile crime in a business district that those in the area is seeing more than it's share lately.
Clayton said his restaurant was also the target of burglars three weeks ago.
"The area is starting to boom. It's starting to get rebuilt and King Street is starting to come up," Clayton said. "I think it's just that we're getting more business, and along with it comes crime."
Clayton shared the surveillance video on Facebook and is asking the public to share the video and help capture the suspect.
Over the summer, Daniel Rowe, a worker at the Blind Rabbit restaurant nearby, was shot and killed as he was taking out the trash. There have been no arrests in his murder.
Another armed robbery also in the area led to the arrest of Shakierra Ray more than a week ago. Police said she showed a gun to two women and stole a purse. She later turned herself in.
News4Jax used the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office crime mapping tool to find out how many crimes there have been so far this year. We found 98 car burglaries, 64 home burglaries, 34 robberies, and 23 aggravated assaults in the area.
"I think it's crazy," said Paul Smith, who lives next door to the Thai restaurant. "Riverside used to be a nice area, but crime's starting to build up here."
Jim Love, the councilman who represents Riverside, said he's aware of the police manpower issue related to Riverside and 103rd Street, which is also in his district. He's hoping when the 40 new police officers join the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office early next year, he's pushing to get his share in these trouble areas.
People are reminded to be on alert.
News4Jax crime analyst Gil Smith about said if a gunman confronts you, acting calm like the people inside the Thai restaurant did was very smart.
"They knew there was a robbery inside taking place and they complied with his demands," Smith said. "He was carrying a weapon, so it's not worth losing your life over this. So they did the right thing giving him what he was asking for."