If You See This Man, Contact Police

Detectives say the man who stole $10,000 from Cafe Bizou is believed to be a transient who is often seen in the neighborhood. They seek the public's help in finding him.

A man whose image was captured in surveillance photos is believed to be a transient who stole $10,000 from Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks early Monday morning, according to Detective Mike O'Conner of the Los Angeles Police Department. (See accompanying photos.)

"He's a guy who is frequently seen walking around Sherman Oaks with a backback; some people in the neighborhood must be familiar with him," O'Conner said. "If anyone sees him, please contact us immediately." O'Conner's phone number at the LAPD's Van Nuys Division is 818-374-0024.

The suspect was described as a white man with brown hair, about 35 to 45 years old, between 5-foot-8 and 5-foot-11 in height and weighing between 160 and 170 pounds. He was wearing blue jeans and a blue T-shirt and carrying a gray backpack.

The man broke into Cafe Bizou in the 14000 block of Ventura Boulevard at about 1:40 a.m. Monday, police said. The eatery's surveillance camera footage appears to show a man forcing open a cash register. About $10,000 in cash was stolen, police said.

"There was a lot of cash on hand because the weekend's receipts were still in the cash register," said Ryan Herrera, the manger of Cafe Bizou. "Making things worse, all of the servers' pooled tips were in a lock box that he broke into and robbed," he said.

"In this incident, the guy got lucky and made off with cash that the owner doesn't normally keep on hand," O'Conner said after the robbery.

Even though the restaurant was closed, there were people working in the kitchen at the time of the burglary, according to police. "We think he entered through a back door somehow," O'Conner said.

Cafe Bizou is one of the most popular restaurants in Sherman Oaks, and generally attracts large crowds on weekends, Herrera said.

O'Conner said restaurant and business owners often overlook simple precautions that could prevent burglaries from occurring. He offered the following tips for business owners:

"Ensure all windows and doors are locked at close of business. Set alarm. Leave the cash register drawer open with as little cash and currency inside as possible. Don't keep large amounts of currency inside at closing. Note and report suspicious transients. Install video cameras."

Marty Vergari October 21, 2011 at 05:36 PM
I've seen him use the mens room at Gelson's on Van Nuys - he enters from the real parking lot. I've also seen him behind the liquor store and gas station at Ventura and Van Nuys. I guess the police know this by now since they say he's "been seen in the area". I think we invite this sort of thing when folks make it "nice" for the bums by doing hand outs and displaying a compassionate heart a bit too much. When people have nothing to lose, they can be very dangerous to a civil society.
Dona Warner October 22, 2011 at 01:03 AM
I agree 100%. Watch carefully when you give $ to people-often it is not for food or shelter
Victor Nepomnyashchy October 22, 2011 at 06:47 AM
Real-estate speculators had a lot to lose. Our society is much worse off for their shenanigans in that marketplace than for that one (alleged!) bum's action. Just because one (again, alleged!) transient was bad, there is no need to tar all of the most unfortunate in our community with that brush.
Marty Vergari October 22, 2011 at 09:37 PM
The hard working folks at Bizoo Restaurant deserve to keep their hard earned money but it seems the "bleeding heart" person is okay with the hard worker having their money stolen just as long as it's not the "bleeding heart" fellow who gets robbed. The ideal community is one that gets just as injured at the victim of a crime as if they were the victim - the ideal community does not feel compelled to stuck up for the criminal - regardless if he is a bum who don't work or not. Lets hear what you have to say if and when you get robbed. I bet you will sing a different tune or paint with a better brush.. I'm hoping none of us who work for a living get robbed, what are you hoping for neighbor?
mary kamalski October 23, 2011 at 06:25 PM
Scam!! No one keeps that much money in their register. Can't even fit!
Marty Vergari October 24, 2011 at 08:00 PM
They said is was ALSO in a box hidden not just the register.
Lightnapper October 24, 2011 at 11:44 PM
@Vergari... Not that I think it is a scam. But what the actually stated was--- "There was a lot of cash on hand because the weekend's receipts were still in the cash register," said Ryan Herrera, the manger [sic] of Cafe Bizou. "Making things worse, all of the servers' pooled tips were in a lock box that he broke into and robbed," he said. That's a sizable amount of tips. Are they hiring? And it's a burglary, not a robbery. And who in their right mind keeps 10 grand lying around unattended or not locked securely in a safe? Now everyone take a Code 7
Marty Vergari October 25, 2011 at 12:56 AM
It's a VERY busy restaurant, I eat there frequently, and the tips ARE sizable over the course of a "weekend". And "robbed" was used as layman slang, but if you and I were two cops chatting we would use the correct term of "burglary" BUT, for the record, if a person was on the premise, it would be a "robbery". Lastly, $10 grand is not that much cash, I carry about half that in my pocket when I go out. Maybe if a person is a "credit card" person it might seem like a lot of cash but it's really for those of us who use cash instead of credit cards. By todays standards and what with the current inflation of prices it truly is not that much money. And why are we putting the victim on trial here folks? Lets get that bad guy who stole the money. Yes?
Nanci October 27, 2011 at 05:30 PM
@ Marty,,,,,are u crazy ???????, or just a braggert ?? What u just said, "to any & all reading this, come rob me, it will be well worth u time !". I'm thinking the latter.
Marty Vergari October 28, 2011 at 07:28 PM
I'm not crazy Nanci, I'm just know how to protect myself should anyone try to "rob" me. I'm a retired policeman, so I know I will be okay but it's our other neighbors that need not be "crazy" by sticking up for the wrong-doer - like they did here for the guy who stole the money from Bizou restaurant. PS $4 or $5 grand is not a big deal of money. I never had a credit card in my life (I'm not bragging, it's just a fact) perhaps you like using them, I don't - I prefer to pay cash - if it's all the same to you. Lastly, you're not as criminal and I don't think Patch readers are either - so relax Nanci. nobody is going to "rob" me.


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