Video relased in Bend Shari's robbery

Suspect used crow bar to get cash register

POSTED: 8:20 AM PST November 28, 2012    UPDATED: 10:17 PM PST December 4, 2012 
BEND, Ore. -

Employees of the Shari's on Bend's north side were on high alert last week after a man used a metal tool to pry open a cash register, pushed a waitress down and fled.

Police are urging anyone with information in the crime to come forward, and on Tuesday released security-camera video of the week-ago robbery.

Officers were called just before 8 p.m. last Tuesday to the reported robbery at Shari’s North at 3098 N. Highway 97, said Sgt. Ron Taylor.

They learned the man had entered the restaurant and went straight to the back portion of the business, where the lottery machines are located, Taylor said.

Once there, the man used a pry tool he’d brought with him to open a locked cash register and steal an undisclosed amount of cash, the sergeant said.

Around that time, a Shari’s employee, Dannae Thorson, 25, entered the area and interrupted him, prompting the suspect to shove her and cause her to fall to the ground, receiving non-life-threatening injuries, Taylor said.

"One of our waitresses heard the commotion and walked into the video poker room," said Arnie Rodriguez, the Shari's district manager. "The robber turns towards her, pushes her, and she screamed."

A restaurant patron, Christopher Strain, 31, heard the commotion and went to investigate. He saw the robber shove Thorson and trying to leave.

As the suspect fled out a back door, triggering an alarm, Strain confronted him and a fight ensued, leaving the customer with non-life-threatening injuries, Taylor said.

The robber tried to hit Strain with the pry tool, but missed, the sergeant said. At that point, the suspect dropped the cash door and pry tool and fled to a waiting car being driven by a woman, Taylor said.

An extensive search of the area did not turn up the suspects, Taylor said.

Rodriguez said it's typical to see a spike in these types of crimes during the holiday season.

"It's typical for us that we tend to go on high alert, usually further into the holiday season," he said. "Around mid-December, we tend to be a little more careful with the amount of monies we have in our drawers."

The employees are trying to get back to business as usual, all while staying on high alert.

"It takes a little while to come down from it -- you know, your adrenaline is flowing and everyone is a little bit frantic and stressed out," Rodriguez said.

The suspect was described as a white man in his late 40s with an average build and either brown or salt-and-pepper colored hair. He’s about 5-foot-7 to 5-11 and 175 to 250 pounds. He was wearing prescription glasses, a tan coat, light blue wash jeans and a dirty hat.

He was accompanied by a white woman, 20 to 30 years old, about 5-foot-8 and 120 pounds. The car was described as possibly a dark blue Jeep Grand Cherokee with tinted windows.

Anyone with information about the incident was asked to contact Bend police at (541) 322-2960 or Deschutes County dispatchers at (541) 693-6911.

You can also provide information through the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at 1-877-876-TIPS, or using the form on KTVZ.COM's Crime Stoppers page. You can remain anonymous and you could be eligible for a cash reward.

As for the citizen intervention, Taylor said, “The Bend Police Department recognizes the commendable efforts of Strain to try and subdue the suspect in this case.”

“However, engaging suspects in the commission of a crime can be extremely dangerous,” he added. “It is recommended that citizens immediately call 911 and be good observers when they witness a crime in progress and relay any information they see to the police officers who arrive to investigate.”