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Sloppy thief targets popular Tampa restaurants

1:24 PM, Jul 26, 2011   |    comments
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Video: Sloppy thief targets restaurants


Tampa, Florida -- Police are searching for a man they believe is responsible for a string of overnight weekend robberies at restaurants on Davis Islands and in the Soho area of South Tampa.

The man captured on video in at least one of the break-ins appears to stumble around and is called a sloppy burglar by store owners.

Tampa Police say the man hit Estela's Mexican Restaurant in the overnight hours on Saturday morning before breaking into Royal Palace Thai Cuisine on South Howard.

He hit four more restaurants Sunday morning, including 717 on Howard, The Bungalow on Kennedy, Miguel's Mexican Restaurant also on Kennedy, and Rick's Italian Café back on Davis Islands.

Surveillance video taken from The Royal Palace restaurant clearly shows the man's face as he trips over boxes and wonders back outside.

Police say in many of the cases he leaves empty-handed after being scared off by alarm systems. In other cases, restaurant owners say he bypasses the most expensive bottles of alcohol and instead goes after the cheapest bottles of booze he can steal.

Tampa Police are asking anyone who recognizes the man, or has information on what happened, to contact their detectives.

You can also remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward by calling Crime Stoppers at 800-873-TIPS.

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