Police confirm four Bryan restaurants burglarized early Wednesday morning

Published: Mar. 2, 2022 at 10:57 PM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Police have confirmed four different restaurants in Bryan were burglarized early Wednesday morning.

The four restaurants are Imperial Chinese & Sushi and Cotton Patch Cafe off Earl Rudder Freeway, and Mr. Hamburger and Babe’s Doughnut & Coffee Shop on Texas Avenue.

Security footage from inside Imperial shows burglars breaking into the restaurant. Owner Stan Zhang says there were three suspects who broke in through the glass of the back door around 4 a.m. Wednesday.

“They get inside and break the cash register and take all the money from it,” Zhang said. “They go through the kitchen and get in the office. I think they were just looking for cash.”

Zhang says they took about $800 and a case of beer, along with breaking the register and other equipment at the front of the restaurant. Zhang says he feels shocked and disgusted, and he was heartbroken when he saw the condition of the front desk when he walked in Wednesday morning.

“We work seven days a week, and since 2014, we’ve served the community,” Zhang said. “In Bryan-College Station, we think it’s a very, very safe community for us because we’ve lived here more than ten years. We don’t see a lot of bad things happen.”

The Cotton Patch Cafe is only two buildings over. The manager there told KBTX they were hit around 4:30 a.m. He says the burglars also broke through a glass door and ran off with cash in less than three minutes.

Mr. Hamburger was hit about an hour earlier around 3:20 a.m.

“This is one of those things where you just feel vulnerable and violated,” Mr. Hamburger General Manager Jeff Lednicky said. “When you get that initial phone call in the morning or you see that text message saying, ‘Hey, we were broken into last night,’ it’s one of those gut-wrenching things.”

The circumstances were strikingly similar to the Imperial break-in. The burglars came through the back door, broke cash registers, busted into the office, and ran off with about $800 in cash.

“It’s really unsettling, especially just for us, and then when you hear about it happening at multiple other restaurants,” Lednicky said. “I think three of the four of them were actually locally owned as well, so it takes a toll on the small business owner when things like this happen.”

Lednicky says the burglary did put hiccups in their process in the morning, but they were able to recover pretty quickly. Some of the damage caused by the burglars has already been repaired. He does say, however, the entire ordeal has made him rethink some things.

“We’ve already started to implement different changes. Nobody is leaving alone,” Lednicky said. “As a general manager, I like to stay afterward and do things, but now it’s making me rethink my processes at night. I’m making sure we have somebody with us at all times. It’s a business as usual, you keep moving forward, don’t let them get the best of you kind of thing, but it makes you come up with a different process on what you need to do and how you need to do it to make your business grow.”

So far, no arrests have been made. Imperial, Cotton Patch, and Mr. Hamburger said they all filed a report with Bryan police and gave them all their security camera footage. Zhang and Lednicky told KBTX officers came to their restaurants to take fingerprints as well.

Zhang says he hopes state and federal governments will find a way to create better opportunities to discourage burglaries and other acts like this.

“If the bad guys can wake up at 4 o’clock in the morning and search around the city, they can find a normal job to get a pretty good pay,” Zhang said. “Everybody in the restaurant gets a pretty good pay as well. They can find work as a cook or a dishwasher, and get a very safe working environment. They don’t worry about too much. $800 in cash from the register will only keep you happy for a minute. You can only rely on that money for a few weeks and you still keep doing this.”

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