Duncan restaurant owner devastated after mid-day robbery


WATCH: A restaurant owner in Duncan is sounding the alarm about crime being on the rise. This, after a brazen robbery at her business in the middle of the afternoon. Luisa Alvarez has the details.

After being in business for nearly six years Sai Thai restaurant in Duncan was finally starting to see some profit. But that took a blow when they were robbed this week.

“In the middle of the daytime 4’o-clock in the afternoon that’s pretty brazen for somebody to walk in,” said Restaurant Manager Grant McHardie.

The alarm wasn’t on but the doors were locked.

“In the middle of the afternoon you don’t think you have to batten down the hatches in any way,” said McHardie.

The restaurant’s owner May Slawson stepped out on her break and was gone for about twenty minutes.

That is when a man broke in through the back door and forced his way in. Later, when a staff member showed up for her shift, she found the lock was broken and the intruder inside stuffing his backpack with the stolen goods.

“$500 in cash we had our float plus the lunch take then they stole about five bottles of wine four cases of prawns and about a dozen beer,” said McHardie.

They say crime in Duncan is on the rise but up until now, they didn’t think extra security in such a small town was necessary.

“It’s quite common a lot of people get cameras but we hadn’t thought to get a camera in just how far do you have to go?” said McHardie.

On the outside, the restaurant may not look like much but it’s always been Slawson’s dream.

“I love cooking and when customers come in and go to the back and say thank you May,” said Slawson.

When people don’t have money to pay for their meal Slawson doesn’t expect payment right away. McHardie says she runs her business with love for her community and gives back where she can.

“One fella was about three months and he came back and offered her some money and she said no no that’s okay I’m just happy you came back,” said McHardie.

That is why for Slawson it’s even more devastating that someone would break in and steal when all they had to do was ask.

“For people that don’t have money just come to ask me and say you know I have no money I’m willing to give,” said Slawson.

In all of this though they refuse to only see the bad,  and say the silver lining in this situation was seeing how much their community cares.

“We were in here waiting for the police and a  gentleman put a five dollar tip through a slot in the door there and may is just so thankful for the people that are supporting her,” said McHardie. “It’s been overwhelming.”

The suspect is described as a white male with blonde hair approximately 5 foot 8  wearing a black raincoat, black baggy pants, and a black backpack.

RCMP are investigating, hoping a tip from the public could lead to an arrest.

Anyone with information is asked to call North Cowichan-Duncan RCMP or Crime Stoppers 1-800-222-TIPS.

Luisa AlvarezLuisa Alvarez

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