MURRELLS INLET, SC (WMBF) - Georgetown County Sheriff's investigators say a total of three restaurants were robbed at gunpoint.
One restaurant owner said the suspect just walked in through the back door that was unlocked at the time. A day after being robbed at gunpoint, business was normal at the China Chef Restaurant in Murrells Inlet.
On Tuesday night, that restaurant, and the Lucky Panda Restaurant, also in Murrells Inlet, were hit by the same suspect, investigators believe.
James Zehng, restaurant owner, said he has been in business for 14 years in the area and has never seen anything like this. "I hope that won't happen again," he said.
The restaurant owner said the suspect came through the back door of the restaurant. He said suspect came in with a gun and demanded money. The owner said it took him a second to realize what was happening, before he ran to cash register, grabbed the money, and gave it to the suspected robber. He said within seconds, the suspect took off out the door.
Investigators believe the same suspect is responsible for the robbery at another Chinese restaurant on Sunday night. Police say he is a white male, about 5'7 to 5'9' in height, with a slim build. China Wok Restaurant surveillance cameras in Litchfield captured an image of the suspect during the Sunday night robbery. The suspect is seen wearing a red bandanna that covered his face, a black leather jacket and a black hoodie sweatshirt underneath.
The restaurant is now taking extra steps to ensure their safety. "I try to install the camera, a security camera so it can help little bit," Zehng said.
Zehng said the greatest relief would be to find the suspect before he tries to strike again.
He added, "I just [don't] want [this to] happen to somebody else business, [and] hurt somebody."
Police say no employees or customers were hurt during the robberies. If you have any information that can lead to an arrest contact the Georgetown County Sheriff's Office.