Two men captured on surveillance cameras stealing cash registers and a tip jar are wanted for a series of robberies from San Diego to Chula Vista.
At Pappalecco in Little Italy, the sounds of coffee making couldn’t drown out a barista’s scream for help.
“She screamed, 'Get him! Get him! Get him,'" said manager Gloire Bora. Bora said he raced from the back of the store to see the man their surveillance cameras captured run out of the store then make a getaway in a bright blue car after stealing their tip jar.
It was tip money Bora said is needed more now than ever because of the pandemic.
“They have to make tips to compensate for the hours that they lost,” said Bora.
Chula Vista Police Department investigators believe the May 2 robbery at Pappalecco is related to two donut shop robberies in the past week.
The first was Thursday May 7 at Christy’s Donuts on Aero Drive in Kearny Mesa, and the second was Saturday May 9 at KD’s Donuts in Chula Vista.
Investigators say video shows the daytime cash register heists are well planned.
KD's owner Seng Lou says his wife screamed when she came face to face with the masked crooks.
Similar to the Christy’s Donuts heist, one of the masked suspects distracted her while the other stole the cash register, using a knife to cut it loose.
“ I just get upset,” exclaimed Lou. “You can't control your mind when someone steals your hard working money."
CVPD says they're working with SDPD using the robbery video to try and identify the two suspects. Right now there’s just a vague description of the two that are believed to be in their 20s.
Police are also focused on what appears to be a blue Kia Forte getaway car, possibly with Illinois plates, always parked backwards at the crime scenes.
"I knew it was the same people, because I saw the same car," said Bora.
He and other business owners say the recent robberies are adding insult to their pandemic financial injuries.
"People are losing jobs… and to see someone who is not only not even looking for a job, but trying to steal even the little that people have, it's disappointing and frustrating," said Bora.
No injuries have been reported as a result of the robberies. How much the suspects have stolen hasn’t been released.