MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - An employee of Carolina Pancake House in Myrtle Beach told police he was held at gunpoint as three men robbed the restaurant Tuesday morning.
According to a Myrtle Beach police report, officers responded to 2800 North Kings Highway around 5:20 a.m. The man said he just got to the restaurant to open for the day when the three men broke into the back door.
When one of the suspects pointed a gun at him and forced him to the ground, he heard what sounded like a gunshot near his head. He said the suspect took $150 from his wallet and asked how to open the register and safes. They then left the restaurant with the safes and over $16,000.
A manager at the restaurant says it's been a tough couple days for everyone who works there.
"Obviously we're really upset about what happened, because they stole money that we worked really hard for," Fioralba Sheka said.
She says even though the situation was scary, she's happy their cook got out okay.
"We're very blessed that we weren't on the premises at the time, and Norman, who is our cook, who was on the premises, obviously listened to them, cooperated with them, and that didn't lead to anything worse that could've happened, like them taking his life," she said.
Sheka says the family-owned restaurant is one of hard-working people.
"I work seven days a week," she said. "My mother, who is a 64-year-old woman, works seven days a week. My father is a 65-year-old man that went through a quadruple bypass last May. And he still works seven days a week here."
Sheka says she hopes the men who did this learn from it.
"I just want them to know that they harmed a good family," she said. "They made Norman feel scared to come to work, which is an ugly feeling, because it's hard to go to work every day to begin with, but to be scared is not a good thing."
Sheka says she's feeling a little bit of regret, because she planned to take some of the cash to the bank Monday morning, but she never got around to it.
She also says the cook just so happened to leave the back door open Tuesday morning because the kitchen was a little hot. The thieves would later break in by going through that door.
Sheka's family is from Albania, and they came to the United States in 1999 after staying in Greece for a while before that.
"We're just trying to make the American dream true for our family," Sheka said.
Call MBPD at 843-918-1382 with information.