JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The owner of a Jacksonville restaurant targeted in a Christmas Eve burglary is hoping those responsible will be caught soon and brought to justice.
The entrance to Nipa Hut, a Filipino restaurant on St. Johns Bluff, was boarded up Thursday. But two days earlier, the doorway was blanketed by broken glass after someone broke in and ransacked the place.
“It was a mess,” owner Lanie Arnold told News4Jax. “It’s like a hurricane all over – you could see the chicken, you could see the food, the cooler was open.”
Arnold said she stopped by Christmas morning to make a holiday dish for her customers. Instead, she found the place turned upside down. Someone had rifled through shelves, drawers and the freezer.
“I said, ‘Oh my god! What’s going on?’” she recalled. “The doors are cracked and (there is) paper everywhere, money everywhere.”
She said the culprits stole the cash register, which was filled with more than $800. Police later found the register completely empty in a nearby neighborhood.
Arnold said there was still cash in the till because she had hosted a party at the restaurant. The party was cut short when she had to call 911 for her mother-in-law, who’s now in the intensive care unit.
No suspect information has been released. Arnold said she plans to install some surveillance cameras to catch any burglars in the act if they decide to return. For now, she has words for the culprits.
“People that have a business doesn’t mean (they) have money,” she said. “We (are) regular people that make a living.”
Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office at 904-630-0500.