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    Safe, cash, jewelrystolen from restaurant

    By CHRIS TISCH

    © St. Petersburg Times, published May 16, 2001


    INDIAN SHORES -- Burglars made off with more than $25,000 in cash and jewelry from the Salt Rock Grill on Sunday morning, along with the restaurant's 150-pound safe.

    Police and Salt Rock Grill owner Frank Chivas would not say exactly how much was taken. But police Chief E. D. Williams said it was one of the largest theft cases in the town in at least the past 12 years.

    "It's serious," Williams said. "It's pretty expensive."

    The burglars broke into the restaurant, 19325 Gulf Blvd., sometime between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. Sunday. The restaurant is only a short distance from the police station.

    The burglars took the safe and gold jewelry from display cases at the restaurant.

    Williams said investigators have not determined how the burglars entered the restaurant. There were no signs of forced entry.

    "In a building that large, there's a number of ways it could be done," he said.

    Williams said the burglars left from the rear. A dive team from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, which also has a detective investigating the break-in, scoured the water surrounding that area but found no evidence.

    "Any time there's a safe job, we take that more seriously, especially when a safe is removed," said Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Greg Tita.

    Williams said he could not say whether the restaurant had a working burglar alarm or whether any physical evidence was found in the business. "We're running down leads," he said.

    "We're going to catch them -- positively," Chivas said.

    Chivas, who is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the burglars, said he's just glad no one was hurt.

    "It's only money," he said. "It can be replaced."

    Have information?

    Anyone with information about the Salt Rock Grill burglary may call Indian Shores police at 596-8774 or 595-5414. A $5,000 reward is being offered for anyone who provides information leading to an arrest and conviction.

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