Busy Fayetteville Restaurants Targeted by Robbery Ring
Posted February 22, 1998 6:00 a.m. EST
FAYETTEVILLE — Some of Fayetteville's busiest restaurants have become the targets of a robbery ring. Sunday night, two thieves held up the popular Outback Steakhouse and shot an employee there, in the latest in a string of robberies.
Outback is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in this series of robberies. Police believe the same two men are targeting restaurant employees who are closing up after all the customers are gone.
An Outback waitress was shot trying to run away from two gunman in masks. The waitress is okay, but other restaurant workers who work in Central Fayetteville are scared. Maranda McNar works at Darryl's, next door to Outback. She says restaurant staff members are on edge.
Maranda McNar works next door to Outback at Darryl's. Employees there are making new signs to remind co-workers to keep doors locked late at night. And now more workers will wear pocket alarms. With them, the touch of a button, notifies 9-1-1.
Outback is the fourth restaurant robbed at gunpoint in just two weeks. Fazoli's and Olive Garden, also on McPherson Church Road, were held up at closing time. A Fazoli's employee was pistol whipped during that robbery.
The Pizza hut just around the corner was also robbed by two men whose descriptions match those in the other robberies. Fayetteville Police Sgt. Robert Rivera says there is a plan in place to try and nab the two robbers.
Area restaurants are also taking action. They are coordinating trash runs, and will change their daily routines to keep the suspects guessing. Fazoli's owner Del Miracle says everyone's working together.
Many of the restaurant managers say they are preparing to hire private security to work inside the restaurants at closing time. They say they hope that will protect their employees and make customers feel more at ease.