GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - Gonzales police are asking for the public's help identifying the man accused of robbing a restaurant at gunpoint on Tuesday evening.
Lt. Steven Nethken says the suspect entered the Albasha Greek and Lebanese Restaurant in the 400 block of LA 30 through an unlocked back door. The man produced a semi-automatic handgun and robbed the business and its employees and patrons at gunpoint.
The masked man can be seen in the surveillance video walking toward the back door of Albasha and hiding. A few minutes later, Lt. Nethken says an employee walked out the back door. "Which is normal for them," he said. "Employees come and go out the back door of restaurants."
Moments later, the surveillance video captured a man walking through the unlocked back door to the restaurant, gun in hand. Lt. Nethken says about 15 customers were in the restaurant at the time. He says the gunman corralled the employees together and robbed them at gunpoint.
Police say the thief then forced an employee to open the cash register, but he didn't stop there. Lt. Nethken says the gunman robbed customers as they were eating.
We're told an undisclosed amount of money was taken from the register, and from employees and customers.
Investigators say the entire ordeal happened in less than four minutes, however by the time police made it to the scene, the suspect was gone. "We don't feel that he walked out this particular location, we feel that he was either assisted or he drove away in a vehicle," Lt. Nethken said.
Gonzales police are taking this rare moment to remind business owners to discuss safety protocol with all employees.
"Be aware of your surroundings at all times," Lt. Nethken said. "If you do have to leave the establishment while you're at work, just pay attention to what's going on."
Anyone who recognizes the suspect is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 225-344-7867 or the Gonzales Police Department at 225-647-9572.