NEW ORLEANS -- A masked man burst into a popular Uptown restaurant late Sunday and robbed it at gunpoint, police said.
The five employees at Vincent’s Italian Cuisine told police the man forced them from the back of the restaurant in the 7800 block of St. Charles Avenue about 11:55 p.m.
The robber then told the employees to put money into a bag. He ran away after the employees stuffed the cash into the bag, police said.
Restaurant owner Vincent Catalanotto said he is relieved that no one was hurt and he thinks this was a random crime. The restaurant is equipped with security cameras and detectives took that video and home security video from a home down the street in hopes to see the robber pass by.
The area the restaurant is in is mostly residential and home to families and college students like Jessie Myrose.
"I bike past there every day," Myrose said.
She learned of the robbery on Monday morning.
"I'm definitely surprised. I mean maybe not too surprised because every so often you hear something like that. It is scary because it's close by," she said.
WWL-TV crime analyst Jeff Asher said this type of crime is more surprising.
"Big restaurants are more of a brazen assault," Asher said.
However, armed robberies in the city are actually down.
"Down about 11 percent relative to this point last year, about 16 percent if you take the three-year average from 2014 to 2016" he said.
Asher said armed robberies typically spike in November and December by even with four armed robberies on Sunday, including Vincent's, he is still yet to see an increase.
Vincent's employees said the robbery was the first issue they have had in the restaurant's 20 year history.
Vincent's will be open for business as usual on Tuesday.
The NOPD has not released a description of the suspect at the time of this post.