Azul Latin Kitchen employees track down Lake Tahoe restaurant robber in Harrah’s Casino
Two employees from Azul Latin Kitchen took justice into their own hands when they used security camera footage to track down the man who burglarized the restaurant in the early morning hours last Thursday.
Assistant managers Lauren Sullivan, 29, and Brianne Price, 31, received a call at 7 a.m. on Sept. 29 from the kitchen supervisor telling them that Azul Latin Kitchen, facing Lake Tahoe Blvd. in Heavenly Village, had been burglarized.
“The bar drawers were shoveled, the toolbox in the office was completely torn apart, the laptops were gone, and the front door was wide open,” said Sullivan.
“We don’t keep cash in the registers, just coin, so he probably got $30,” added Price. “It was more what was on the laptops that hurt us — recipes and that sort of thing.”
They alerted the South Lake Tahoe Police Department, and an officer arrived at the restaurant to review security footage. They were able to determine a blonde man, mid-50s with glasses, broke the lock and entered the restaurant at 5:08 a.m.
“As we were watching the video footage, one of our cooks came in the back and said she just saw someone looking through the window,” said Sullivan. “When we showed her the picture of the individual, it was the same man. So he came back by around 8:30.”
After the police left, and with a clear shot of the suspect’s face from the security footage on Sullivan’s phone, the pair decided they were not going to sit idly by. They took a walk through Heavenly Village in search of the culprit, before heading to look in the nearby Raley’s.
Next, they went through the casinos, starting with MontBleu, then Hard Rock and Harveys.
“We showed the security guard his picture in Harveys and they basically acted like we were crazy,” said Price.
“We were kind of laughing at ourselves along the way, like who do we think we are that we are actually going to catch this criminal?” added Sullivan.
Their last ditch effort was a sweep of Harrah’s.
“We came around the corner and there he was. Him and his girlfriend. He was in the same clothes, too. He hadn’t changed,” said Sullivan.
“So I walked behind them very slowly, and Bri took off to get the security guard that was about 50 yards away.”
Security surrounded him until the cops arrived.
“We were all high-fiving and hugging,” recalled Price. “It was such a rush.”
“Sure enough, their bell cart is stacked high with all of their belongings and our backpack is laying on top with our laptops in it,” said Sullivan.
The suspect, later identified as Rob Scott, 53, was arrested and handed over to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department.
“It was a crazy story, but it got even better,” explained Sullivan. “That couple has been wanted for a bunch of burglaries in Southern California.”
Scott and his girlfriend Heidi Doyle, 42, were wanted in connection with alleged burglaries on Aug. 20 and Sept. 2 at a consignment store in Encinitas. Investigators say $80,000 in jewelry was stolen.
Doyle was not arrested at Harrah’s, but later turned herself in at a San Diego County Sheriff’s Department station.
The two are facing charges of commercial burglary. Doyle has additional charges of identity theft and writing fake checks.
Price and Sullivan can’t say for sure what motivated them to start their amateur sleuthing, but Price said it’s something she’s always been interested in.
“I almost became a cop. That was a career path I was heading down,” she said.
“Don’t mess with Azul!” added Sullivan with a laugh.
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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, CALIF. — A man remains on the loose Saturday morning after he fled from authorities while they were serving a search warrant for his arrest on Friday.