ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - Several St. Johns County restaurants owners returned to work following the holiday break only to find their businesses ransacked by burglars.
Shattered glass doors greeted employees showing up to work Wednesday at Cinco de Mayo and 2 Creeks Bar & Grill on Capulet Drive near World Golf Village.
The burglaries come two days after someone broke into Tank's Sushi Bistro on Tuscan Way in St. Augustine and Vino's Pizza on State Road 13 in St. Johns.
The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office is investigating the string of burglaries, which investigators suspect may be linked based on the smash-and-grab method used in every case.
Deputies' best lead so far might be surveillance video recorded of the burglary targeting Tank's. The footage shows a man breaking the glass doors and snatching the cash register.
But early Wednesday, deputies answering the Capulet Drive break-ins thought they had their guy when they spotted a man inside 2 Creeks. In reality, it was breakfast cook Jack Silverman.
"I turn around to see three police officers walking through the door, guns drawn," Silverman said. "...They told me to get on the ground, put me in handcuffs."
Silverman told News4Jax he was opening the restaurant for the day. He never noticed the glass and debris out front because he entered through the back door.
"I was very surprised," he said. "Definitely an interesting way to start the morning."
Both restaurant owners said the cost of replacing their glass doors is far more than what the burglar took. Less than $5 was taken from 2 Creeks and roughly $70 was missing from Cinco de Mayo.
"No cash in the drawer," said Rich McCaan, owner of 2 Creeks. "We take it out every night."
McCaan said the recent crime was disappointing to see in what's largely a crime-free area. He intends to install security equipment to fend off any future burglaries.
These stills are from a video where a man had smashed in the front door and stole a cash drawer. There have been reports of 2 other locations having the same thing happen over the past 2 days in the NW part of SJC. Contact Det Kukar at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any info pic.twitter.com/rNWzKYOxW0 — SJSO (@SJSOPIO) December 28, 2017
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