Wednesday, September 5, 2012

oh, by the way -- we were robbed.

I suppose the title gives away the ending a bit, huh?

On the off chance it did not-- yes, my work had a brush with burglary.

They were telling us not to share the information with anyone, hence my encrypted twitter update. (I'm pretty slick.) I'm not sure if it was to merely keep it quiet until after the eager detective showed up, or to maintain the illusion of a safe, family-friendly atmosphere in our boisterous little pub. Either way, I'm sure the huge gaping hole in the side of the building right next to the main driveway where countless cars enter/exit on a daily basis did wonders to keep the whole situation under wraps.

I feel sorry for my boss. Nine times out of ten under normal circumstances, I won't go down into the restaurant basement unaccompanied at night. I have far too much experience with the Investigation Discovery channel, and therefore know better than to risk my life because we need more ketchup. Does she think I will voluntarily wander down there now?

Oh yeah... and I feel bad because it sucks to lose anywhere between $400 & $800 in one swift blow. And yes, for those wondering, that is as specific as the numbers get... because who would know the exact amount of cash in their own register drawers? Probably not the people who kept them stored in an unmonitored basement beer cooler instead of, say, a safe on the main floor where we actually have decent security measures. Or something.

However, I will also take a minute to express my sympathy for the criminal(s). Sure, coming into what could have been $800 for just kicking in an air conditioner and busting off a lock? Would be nice, I suppose. But, really? What smart (or even average-minded) individual would risk getting caught robbing this restaurant for a measly 800 Benjamins? Those are the big bucks you're risking jail time for?

The apparent collective IQ of this team of bandits -- along with a few other clues -- helps to narrow down the list of suspects considerably.

Being the logical, collected, amateur detective CSI has trained me to be, I went down to the scene of the crime, -- it was day time, so my 5' of crybaby was safe -- gave it a once over, and concluded that this was, what we in the biz call, an "inside job".
  • (ideally) only current or former employees know where we stash the cash at the end of the night. There are several locked rooms downstairs. Only that one was tampered with. They definitely knew where they were going.
  • you have to have a decent idea of the basement layout to know which window -- or air conditioner -- through which to enter. (Apparently it also requires the mind of a criminal as well.. I have worked here for 3.5 years and never once did it dawn on me that that AC was actually concealing a window. But perhaps that says more about me than it does the thief in question.) And again, the exact location of the money in order to make a beeline for it.
  • Every wait staff member has, at one time or another, held the drawer. It doesn't take an idiot to realize that any crazy motion will have the change pouring out like Niagara Falls. So, in my opinion, this rules out our trusty (no pun intended) waitstaff, as the floor of the cooler was littered with nickels and dimes.
Of course, after sifting through the details in my head, I also thought back to the night (Friday) before "the incident" (Saturday) when I was downstairs grabbing extra beer for the bar. It last of my work before I could get the hell out of there, and so the adrenaline coursing through my eager veins kept me from being too timid to venture downstairs without the company of a coworker or weapon. I heard what I thought sounded like the clinking of bottles coming from a creepy hallway where we keep the soda machine hookups that my good ole "I don't know how" excuse keeps me from ever having to walk down. One of the owners ended up going down with me, jokingly scared the shit out of me by faking a run-in with the murderer that I just knew was crouching somewhere in that basement waiting for me to turn my back on that box of Bud Light, and concluded that there wasn't anyone there. Though there was a light on back there that is never on, and has no reason to be on. Gulp. So in my mind, I very well could have caught the bastard who broke in before it happened. But, because I'm not Jack Bauer (and the minor detail of no one actually being in the basement) that didn't happen.

One last tidbit to document? Soon after I found out on Sunday morning, the restaurant got a call from our resident drama queen (she found out from her daughter who also works there) demanding to know what happened, whether or not it was at gunpoint, if anyone was hurt, blah blah blah. Yes, drama queen, because everything about the "oh, hey, by the way, we were robbed last night so I'll have to pay you personally" text clearly indicates armed robbery.

(L-R) The window from outside (won't lie, it was mildly disturbing to see it.), the window from inside, and the lock on the cooler.