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Pizza Shack thief strips cooler of hundreds of pounds of meat, cheese, eggs

LARGO — The thief was a true Hamburglar.

A man who broke into a walk-in cooler behind the Pizza Shack restaurant early Tuesday made off with more than $1,000 in food in less than four minutes, owner Darrell Youness said Friday.

The man snatched 60 pounds of hamburger meat, 40 pounds of sausage, 30 pounds of Genoa salami and two full hams.

Then there were the dairy items: 40 pounds of provolone cheese, blocks of American and Swiss cheese, 10 pounds of grated Parmesan cheese, 4 pounds of butter, three quarts of half and half, one gallon of milk and a case of eggs.

"A case of eggs is 15 dozen. What do you do with 15 dozen eggs?" Youness wondered.

So, why so much food? Was the man planning a Labor Day bash? Stocking up for football season?

Not likely, said Youness, whose restaurant is at 11963 Indian Rocks Road.

First of all, he passed by the beer.

And second, Youness said, "There's no way it would fit in a regular refrigerator."

"I think he sold it to somebody in the restaurant business or he had customers for it."

It's not unheard of for people to hit up restaurant owners offering discounted items that allegedly fell off the back of a truck, Youness said.

"Our motto is if someone comes to the back and tries to sell you something like that, you act like you're buying it then you call 911," he said.

Youness' surveillance cameras caught the caper. He and employees have watched the video and don't recognize the man as a customer, he said.

Youness said he thinks the man had an accomplice. On the video, it appears he's talking to someone as he sets the food outside the cooler.

The man "was picking and choosing" what he wanted, Youness said.

Strangely, the man seemed to want to ensure that Youness had enough to open the next day.

"He took dressings, but he left me one of everything," Youness said. "He wasn't trying to take it all. It's like he didn't want to hurt me or something. It puzzles us."

Largo police hope the public can identify the man, described as white, in his late 20s to early 30s, about 5 feet 10 to 6 feet tall and about 200 pounds.

In the surveillance video, he appears to have multiple tattoos on both arms, possibly tattoo "sleeves," and is wearing a large ring on his left ring finger. He was wearing a cap and a long-sleeved plaid shirt with the sleeves rolled up.

Police say the man has "a really pointy chin or a goatee which came to a distinctive point," according to police spokesman Lt. Mike Loux.

Youness said he warned nearby restaurant owners to keep an eye out for the burger bandit and has taken additional precautions.

"I've beefed up the security back there."

Rita Farlow can be reached at farlow@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4157.

. Fast facts

How to help

Anyone with information about the suspect's identity can call Detective Arlington of the Largo Police Department's Investigative Services Division at (727) 587-6728 or (727) 587-6730 and reference report number 10-9375.

Pizza Shack thief strips cooler of hundreds of pounds of meat, cheese, eggs 09/03/10 [Last modified: Friday, September 3, 2010 7:43pm]
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