A man in a pirate mask who was wielding a fire extinguisher stole a safe from a Cornelius bar and got away in a stolen pickup.
Deputies responded to the Last Lap on the 1500 block of North Adair Street at 10:05 a.m. July 23.
Employees discovered that a safe had been stolen from the business.
Surveillance video showed a suspect enter through a side door when the bar was closed. The man was wearing a pirate mask that included an eye patch, parrot and beard.
“It was kind of weird seeing a dude running around with a pirate mask on," Cook Charles Wills said.
The suspect’s T-shirt was only worn across his shoulders and he was holding a fire extinguisher. After examining the safe on the floor, the thief disabled the surveillance camera.
The safe contained about $4 thousand dollars.
“It’s a big loss because most of it was lottery money, and so that money has to be paid back," Bartender Darla King said.
It was stolen just after closing.
“They put a piece of cardboard in here so when it shut, this didn’t click, so they could come back through," King explained.
King walked FOX 12 through how the thief got in through a back emergency door. She said surveillance cameras never captured the man putting that cardboard in place and King thinks this might have been part of an inside job
"He looked like he obviously knew where he was going because he wasn’t walking around looking around a lot," she said.
The suspect went straight for the safe after disabling a camera in the storage room, according to deputies.
Deputies believe the suspect used a hand truck to steal the safe. He got away in a stolen white pickup, which was later found abandoned with its license plates stripped in western Washington County.
For long-time employees, this feels personal.
"That affects us all here because we’re such a small company," Wills said.
But they're hopeful for a small-town advantage, believing the suspect might be a local, and someone will recognize the face behind the mask
"He didn’t get away with a lot of money for what’s going to happen to him," Wills said. "He’s going to be in a lot of trouble for this."
Employees said they have since taken additional security and safety measures hoping they won’t be targeted again.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office released surveillance images of the suspect Thursday, calling him the “masked pirate burglar.”
Anyone with information about this investigation is asked to contact investigators at 503-629-0111.
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