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Thieves ransack 2 Asian-owned restaurants in Highland

Boarded up doors and shattered glass. That’s what greets you when you stop by a pair of Asian-owned restaurants in the same Highland strip mall.

The restaurants were targeted by thieves and surveillance video captured both of them.

Paul Thongphanith is the owner of the restaurant Thai Spoon. He says about $600 was stolen around 4:30 a.m. Sunday.

“They took our cash register and they broke out in the main office to get whatever they have inside there,” he said.

Surveillance footage showed the thieves climbing out of a window located near the ground. Moments after that, the thieves headed seven doors down to Pho T and T Vietnamese restaurant.

“They came in and smashed the door, they stole money from the cash register and just like messed up our files,” said Ronald Pham. Ronald does the shopping for the family-owned restaurant and he said when his mother called him Sunday morning to tell him the news, his heart sank.

“She said, ‘Hey, we got robbed,’” Pham told KTLA.

Pham said the thieves took about $600 worth of change as well as two cell phones used for taking orders.

The burglary forced the restaurant to close down for all of Sunday as the family tried to figure out what to do next. Pham said it’s the first time in the family’s six years at the location that they’ve felt targeted.

For Thongphanith and his restaurant, it isn’t the first time, but it is one of the worst.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department is now investigating and could only provide a description. Officials say the two people wore white hooded sweatshirts and masks.

Now both business owners are considering more security cameras and adding steel doors.

“I’m glad that no one got hurt, but also like, man, now I have to think of what can we do to prevent future break-ins and things like that and just got to be more prepared I guess,” Pham said.

Authorities say despite the fact that both restaurant are owned by Asian-American families, it is not believed that the burglaries were hate crimes. A quick peek at the line of businesses at the Palm Avenue strip mall shows several businesses in between the two restaurants that were spared by the burglars.

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