Deputies: Restaurant break-in may be linked to other similar crimes

Deputies warn about rash of break-ins at 21 local restaurants

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - The Orange County Sheriff's Office released new video of a break-in at a popular restaurant that may be linked to a rash of similar crimes.

In the security video taken Jan. 27 at Rice and Beans Cocina Latina off Alafaya Trail, a burglar is seen breaking the glass front door and stealing the cash register. The crime began just before 3 a.m. when the business was closed.

This restaurant does have a security system, but that burglar didn't seem to care and was in and out in about a minute.

The owner said the burglar had a crowbar and slammed into the door about 10 times before finally getting inside. He then tried to use the crowbar to get into the register, but when that failed, he ripped the whole thing out and walked back out the door.

"He looks like he was a professional," said Kenia Gonzalez, who has owned the restaurant for six years and worries how he knew what to do and where to go. "It makes me feel scared because I knew that that person probably was here, studying the business before he did that because he knew exactly where to come. That's the register we use the most throughout the day, so he came exactly for that register."

The burglar hit just after a busy weekend for the locally-owned restaurant.

She's not alone. Deputies said there have been a rash of break-ins at local restaurants -- 21 in just the past few weeks. Authorities released a picture of the person of interest and hope anyone with information calls the Sheriff's Office.

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