Police issue warrant over $24K theft

UPDATE: Police have issued an arrest warrant for a 38-year-old West End man over the theft of $24,000 from Indian Mehfil Restaurant in Ipswich last week.

Inspector Keith McDonald said the CCTV footage obtained by restaurant owner Raj Sharma was crucial in enabling police to identify the man.

Security footage from Indian Mehfil in Ipswich.Photo: Contributed
Security footage from Indian Mehfil in Ipswich.Photo: Contributed Contributed

 

UPDATE: A man is assisting police with their investigation into the theft of $24,000 cash from a popular Ipswich restaurant.

Last week CCTV cameras at Indian Mehfil caught a man allegedly entered the restaurant, unlocked a safe and placed $23,949.35 in his shoulder bag before leaving.

Restaurant owner Raj Sharma estimated the crime took "no more than three minutes".

Queensland Police are yet to lay charges.

Indian Mehfil owner Raj Sharma was stunned by the brazen robbery .
Indian Mehfil owner Raj Sharma was stunned by the brazen robbery . Rob Williams

EARLIER: A BRAZEN thief has allegedly stolen almost $24,000 in cash from Indian Mehfil Restaurant in broad daylight with the robber's every move captured on security camera footage.

The footage is crystal clear and the QT has released it online so that anyone who recognises the man can call police and identify him - in order to assist the investigation. 

The audacity of the alleged theft has to be seen to be believed.

About 3.11pm on Tuesday the man is seen on security footage checking if the main entrance to the restaurant is locked. It is.

Then he moves to the toilet door not far away. He checks if it is locked for some reason, and it is.

The footage then shows the man walk down the entrance on the d'Arcy Doyle Place side of the restaurant.

He turns left and goes through the staff entrance door and places a lit cigarette on top of a bin.

Then he enters and goes past the main counter and into restaurant owner Raj Sharma's office where the safe is located.

The cameras are set off by movement in certain areas of the restaurant and do not include the interior of the office.

In his time in the office the man has allegedly taken the safe key out of the draw, unlocked the safe and placed the $23,949.35 in his shoulder bag.

He is then seen exiting calmly from the office, walks out the same way he entered and collects his cigarette on the way.

Mr Sharma estimated the entire operation took "no more than three minutes, from start to finish".

The man was lucky in many ways. The cafe staff were working only metres away, but hidden from view around a corner in another area of the restaurant.

"He should have bought a Lotto ticket that day," Mr Sharma said of the thief.

"I just can't believe it."

The alleged thief was also fortunate that while the safe was locked, the combination had not been entered.

The business banks its weekly takings on a Tuesday and when the restaurant's general manager went in to open the safe there was no sign of the key to the safe.

He called Mr Sharma who instinctively told him to check the security footage, which revealed that a man had entered the office.

The duo then perused the video together on Wednesday morning and called the police who came to investigate and take fingerprints.

Mr Sharma had to call a locksmith to open the safe , which was done on Thursday.

On opening it, the safe was empty.

Mr Sharma said there was something fishy about the way the man seemed to know exactly where to go.

The alleged thief seemed to also know that the restaurant staff took their break after lunch at 2.30pm, and that the cafe staff would be out of sight around the side and out of view.

"It seems very odd that he knew the safe was in my office and where the key is," Mr Sharma said.

"He seems to have done his homework and knew everything.

"When I saw everything on the camera, it just blew my mind."

Mr Sharma said he was only insured for $5000 and that his only hope of getting the extra $19,000 was if the police caught him with the cash, or somehow got it back through the court system.

The Ipswich businessman is getting worn down by the robberies at his restaurant.

"This is about the 20th robbery in this restaurant in the last seven years," he said.

"I am worried about where our society is going and how a business like ours can afford the insurances."

Mr Sharma said he was sure that someone would know the alleged thief once the footage was released.

The alleged thief is tall with dark hair and a goatee. On the day of the robbery he was wearing a dark blue shirt, blue jeans and grey shoes with a white trim and sole.

*Anyone with information about the alleged thief or the robbery should call Crimestoppers on 1800333000 or contact Ipswich police.



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