The search is on for a suspect who police say forced the manager of a popular Eden Prairie restaurant to open a safe at gunpoint, then tied him up before robbing him and fleeing the scene.
Eden Prairie police said in a search warrant application that the robbery occurred at Buca di Beppo, at 7711 Mitchell Road, shortly after the well-known Italian eatery’s closing time of 9 p.m. on Jan. 20. The manager reportedly called 911 after freeing himself from the restraints.
No suspect has been identified as of yet, police said.
The incident occurred about 10 p.m. according to the warrant, filed in Hennepin County District Court.
The victim told police that he had just finished counting the day’s receipts and putting the cash into the restaurant’s safe, when he opened the door of his second-floor office to find a man pointing a gun at him — “a small frame pistol,” the application said. The man ordered the manager back into the office and instructed him to open the safe, saying he wouldn’t get hurt if he complied. The suspect then forced him to lean over a chair and bound his hands and covered his eyes, before fleeing with a “large amount of money,” the warrant said.
The manager described the suspect as wearing a baggy, dark colored sweatshirt with the hood up and a neoprene ski mask that obscured his face, according to the search warrant. After freeing himself, the manager said he looked out of the office window and saw a vehicle leaving the parking lot and turning onto Martin Drive. A neoprene mask and gloves were found along the escape route of the vehicle, which was captured on surveillance camera leaving the scene with its lights turned off, police said.
Police later discovered fresh foot prints in the snow, leading from the “office roof access door across the roof to the south,” the warrant said.
The restaurant had been closed at the time of the robbery and most of its employees had gone home for the night, with the exception of two who were cleaning the dining area, police said. Neither saw anything.
Detectives are looking into the possibility that the suspect hid in an adjoining office until the restaurant closed. Bolt cutters and a pair of sunglasses were found there, police said.