The Houston taqueria where a would-be robber was shot and killed last week suffered a break-in on Tuesday.
At about 2:45 a.m. local time on Tuesday morning, a man broke into El Ranchito #4 in southwest Houston, stealing money and damaging several video poker machines in the establishment. Surveillance video from the scene shows the robber using a crowbar to pry open the door of the restaurant, breaking into several gambling machines before making off with several hundred dollars from the cash register.
“When I got here, I looked at the video and I saw the man break into the games and the register,” Pedro Lopez, the owner of El Ranchito, told local news reporters.
Surveillance video of the break-in shows a masked man using a pry bar to wrench open the door of the restaurant. The man then busts open three video poker machines from which he reportedly stole money. He then walks up to the cash register, breaking it open and taking the money from inside. Lopez told local news outlets that the thief made off with a couple hundred dollars.
His gambling machines are ruined, and a news hit from local station ABC 13 showed the front door lock of the restaurant mangled as well.
“I don’t know if it’s against me. I just don’t know,” Lopez lamented. “I think we need to come out ahead of it and move forward. Keep working until someone else comes to rob us.” The shop was open the day after the robbery took place, ABC 13 reported.
The second break-in came just five days after a would-be robber was shot and killed by a patron while attempting to hold up the store. Witnesses told officers that a masked African American man wearing all black clothing, a black ski mask, and black gloves walked into the restaurant, pointing what appeared to be a firearm at customers while demanding their money, according to Houston police.
While this person was walking around the restaurant taking money from patrons, one customer sitting in a booth with another person quickly stood up as soon as the suspect passed by and pulled out a gun, as seen in the surveillance video.
Police said the armed patron shot the suspect multiple times before collecting the stolen money, which he then returned to the others. This individual and other patrons then left the scene, leaving the police to ask the public for help in identifying the shooter as he was wanted for questioning.
The Houston Police Department shared surveillance images of who they believe was the armed customer, described as a white or Hispanic man, as well as his 1970s or 1980s model pickup truck with no bed. No charges have been filed, police said in a Friday press release.
On Monday, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement that it was referring the case to a grand jury, which would decide whether or not to press charges against the patron.
Lopez expressed support for the patron on Tuesday. “I’m happy that they didn’t put charges against him right now,” he said. “He continues forward and God takes care of him and protects him. Thanks to him, they didn’t take the money. The bad thing is the death.”