A masked gunman robbed employees at Tara Kitchen downtown Saturday night as they closed up for the night, police said.
The incident happened around 9:15 p.m. at the 431 Liberty St. restaurant. It had stopped seating customers at 8 and no patrons are believed to have still been there when the gunman came in, police spokesman Lt. Eric Clifford said.
He said it was the first armed robbery of a business or restaurant downtown that he could remember, other than bank holdups.
Even though the restaurant was closed, its front door was still unlocked, Clifford said. As employees sat, some eating their own dinner, the gunman came in, his face half-covered with a bandana. He demanded they give him all their money.
The employee behind the counter didn’t initially think he was serious, Clifford said. That’s when the man pulled out a gun, saying it was serious and that it wasn’t a joke.
The employee immediately complied, handing over an undisclosed amount of money and placing it in a bag provided by the gunman.
The thief then fled the restaurant, and the employees soon lost sight of him.
The incident remained under investigation today. Police were following up on leads, including reviewing surveillance camera footage.
The man is described as between 5 feet, 8 inches and 6 feet tall. He had a thin build and a deep voice, possibly with an accent. He was wearing a jacket with light-colored sleeves and a dark breast, similar to a Raiders football jacket.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the city police TIPS line at 788-6566.