Orange County

Burglars Hit 7 Orange County Restaurants in 30 Minutes

“The way that they did it, coming into the restaurant, they looked like they were after something, like they were going specifically for, I believe, the safes in the restaurants"

NBC Universal, Inc.

Business owners in Rancho Santa Margarita are dealing with thousands of dollars in repairs after a string of burglaries. Hetty Chang reports for the NBC4 News on March 13, 2023.

The owners of seven Orange County businesses spent the weekend and Monday morning on costly repairs.

The burglaries happened between 4 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. Saturday. All of the restaurants are in Santa Margarita, and detectives were working to determine if the same people were responsible for all the break-ins.

Daniel Gorman, manager of Mountain Mike’s Pizza, said it appeared the burglars knew what they were doing when they targeted his restaurant.

“The way that they did it, coming into the restaurant, they looked like they were after something, like they were going specifically for, I believe, the safes in the restaurants,” he said.

Surveillance video from the pizza place captured what appeared to be two men with hoodies and face coverings shattering the front door and going straight for the safe. Gorman said they used a crowbar to try and take the bolts off the bottom of the safe.

The burglars didn’t get any money, but they left the restaurant with costly repairs.

Lulu’s Caafé, a family restaurant that just opened in December, was another of the targeted eateries. “They took my cash – $500,” owner Sam Bholse said.

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As was the case with Mountain Mike’s Pizza, surveillance video at Lulu’s Caafé showed a pair of burglars in hoodies and face coverings. They also had with them a drill and other power tools.

Bholse, a father of three, is now left with nearly $2,000 worth of repairs.

“It’s not a lot of money. But now, you know, like every night I go to sleep worried about the restaurant,” he said. “I don’t know how these people can live with these kinds of activities in their life.”

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