Thief caught on video robbing Back of the Yards restaurant, replacing locks

October 25, 2013 (CHICAGO)

The thief robbed a restaurant in the city's Back of the Yards neighborhood by removing and then replacing the business' front door lock. And his method of breaking in might have been used in other burglaries in the Chicago area.

This was no smash-and-grab. The alleged robber used a hand tool to remove a door lock, all in an effort, apparently, to make it look like an inside job.

The video is unbelievable to business owner Daniel Casas.

"I was in denial the first time I saw it. It was kind of like, wow," he said.

Casas owns Fatty's Hot Dogs, the scene of the alleged robbery last month.

The surveillance video appears to show a man scoping out the location around 2 a.m., glancing up at apartment windows to see if anyone's looking.

He then appears to pull out some sort of tool, which he uses to remove the cylinder of the lock.

"He puts it on the cylinder, and you can tell in the video he's prying at it. He's literally using force to grab it and turn the cylinder," Casas said.

He then walks away, perhaps waiting to see if a silent alarm has been activated. Several minutes later he returns, appears to put on gloves and use a screwdriver on the lock before entering.

From this register he allegedly stole more than a $100, but as he leaves he does something curious.He appears to replace the cylinder of the lock.

"The only thing that comes to my mind is he wanted to make it look like it was an inside job, so we would be firing the night person," said Casas.

On Friday, we showed the video to contractor Gonzalo Lopez, who makes a living replacing locks.

He says the video suggest the alleged robber may have used a large pair of pliers like this one, which is what Lopez uses to gain entry when his customers are locked out. His method is the same, removing the cylinder of the lock. That it took this man only seconds suggests a high level of skill.

"He's got a lot of experience like me, or a little more. He's very fast to do this," said Gonzalo Lopez, Glass 4 U.

"That would be horrible if it were a locksmith. That would be devastating to a lot of people," said Casas.

Daniel Casas says he's been told by investigators that there have been a string of similar break-ins in recent weeks, both here in the Back of the Yards neighborhood and in Chinatown. Chicago Police, however, could not confirm to us whether or not there's a pattern.

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