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Posted on Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 2:36 p.m.

Police release video of break-in at Chelsea restaurant

By John Counts

A security video released by police Thursday shows a masked individual smashing his way into a Chelsea restaurant.

The break-in occurred July 1 at the Pancho Villa Mexican restaurant on Main Street.

The video shows the intruder smashing the bottom half of a glass door with a crowbar and climbing into the restaurant.

The suspect, who police believe is a man, is wearing a Carhart coat, knit hat and glasses and has a bandana wrapped around his face. He immediately goes for a cash register and jimmies it open with the crowbar.

He then targets what appears to be a safe from the manager's office, picking it up and attempting to open it by slamming it on the ground.

The suspect then disappears from the camera's view into the back of the restaurant for about three minutes before escaping out the broken out bottom half of the door where he came in.

Three minutes of footage showing no action from 2:20 to 2:23 a.m. have been edited out.

The man made off with an undisclosed amount of cash, credit card transactions and gift cards.

On Wednesday, Chelsea police announced a $1,000 reward for information leading to the suspects' arrest.

The Mexican restaurant is located within the Chelsea Clocktower Commons in the 300 block of North Main Street. Police didn't initially release the name of the business.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers of Michigan by dialing 1-800-SpeakUp. Calls can be made anonymously.

John Counts covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Sat, Jul 13, 2013 : 4:41 a.m.

Poncho Villa would be proud!

Jonathan Blutarsky

Fri, Jul 12, 2013 : 5:27 p.m.

I do not understand why any business leaves cash in a register overnight.


Fri, Jul 12, 2013 : 4:05 a.m.

Do you like pina coladas and gettin' caught on TV? ;-)


Fri, Jul 12, 2013 : 3:55 a.m.

Reductionist, after the fact speculation. Troll consistent at least.


Fri, Jul 12, 2013 : 1:16 a.m.

I called this guy a pathetic loser, and removed it. Apparently they don't approve of people insulting criminals. How pathetic.

Kyle Mattson

Fri, Jul 12, 2013 : 4:40 p.m.

Mike your comment was removed for implying he may be an employee of the store, as always such speculation is subject for removal as there is no reason to point fingers until an individual has been convicted in connection with the case.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 9:35 p.m.

Also looks like it's another one of the guys who likes to where his pants down low, but that's not much help as that seems to be the fashion among some of the younger generation. But if someone is wearing a Carhart coat in July that might be a dead giveaway.


Fri, Jul 12, 2013 : 4:09 a.m.

Pants today: all seem to be made to induce such sagging and "exposure." All those clothing factories overseas: they must think it goes with being American.

Chelsea Larry

Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 9:27 p.m.

I don't get leaving cash in the register. Maybe it's a thing to mimimize loss, figuring if they get only that, it's not a huge deal. I guess I can see that. Still, a good secure safe is not that expensive. But like other comments, it appears the person knew where to go.

This Post Doesn't Have A Name

Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 11:11 p.m.

The way to minimize loss is to deposit the day's receipts at the bank, and secure the safe, I mean, fasten it to the floor. What you do is assume the worst, and plan for it, but hope for the best.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 8:25 p.m.

The managers office is located right off the main seating area...however, I wonder how easy it is to find the safe once the office is opened. Could be someone familiar with the layout due to having worked there or simply a regular guest who has been observing the location of certain areas for awhile. I hope someone recognizes his mannerisms and movements.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 7:59 p.m.

Well I suppose they should be moving the camera after this video was made public. It looks like he left through the exterior door that leads to the courtyard. I hope someone rats on him.


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 7:18 p.m.

Seems like someone who know's their way around, doesn't it?

Dr. Fate

Fri, Jul 12, 2013 : 12:23 a.m.

Almost like ... he's eaten there before....

Michelle Pierson

Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 7:05 p.m.

umm, apparently, someone knows where the safe box is?


Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 8:43 p.m.

you mean for the register? not to hard to find buddy. . . Safe? same thing, its a restaurant. not too hard to find.