San Diego

Suspected Thief, Posing as Customer, Takes Off With Phone, Money at Kearny Mesa Restaurant

"It’s like, violated, you know, myself and a little bit scared,” restaurant owner Junko Sakai said.

The suspect in a brazen theft at a restaurant in Kearny Mesa was caught on camera stealing a phone, credit cards and cash while posing as a customer.

The theft happened Tuesday around 6:30 p.m. at Ichiro’s Japanese Restaurant on Convoy Street.

Ichiro's Restaurant is a family-owned place. This is the first time it has been burglarized, and the timing could not be worse for owner Junko Sakai.

After more than three decades in business, Sakai told NBC 7, she is uncomfortable in her own restaurant.

"It’s like, violated, you know,” Sakai said. "And a little bit scared."

The suspect entered the restaurant Tuesday night and asked for a table.

In the video the man appears to bypass his table, telling the waitress he would first visit the restroom. He then goes directly in Sakai's office, taking her purse wallet, and a phone from the desk.

"It’s all my identity... is in my wallet," she said.

As casual as he came in, the video appears to show the suspect walking back outside.

Sakai's credit cards, cash, social security card and other identification were stolen. She told NBC 7, she needs those to return to Japan in two weeks for the funeral of her 95-year-old father.

She is now left scrambling to get everything together before the trip. But it's not easy.

She said the suspect used her ATM card to withdraw $600 from her bank account and to shop at a Target store.

The theft happened so quickly, Sakai said she did not realize she had been burglarized until she watched the security camera footage.

“He knows where to go and I think he took about less than 10 minutes,” Sakai said.

Sakai made photocopies of an image from the recording to share with other area businesses as a warning.

Anyone with information can contact the San Diego Police Department through their non-emergency phone number.

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