Robber leaves money and register behind in field across the street
By Seth Lichtenstein
The Molokai Drive-Inn has served burgers in Kaunakakai for 40 years without any serious incidents, so it was a shock to employees when an unidentified man came to the counter and helped himself to the cash register Wednesday night.
“I’m screaming and crying,” said Gloria Biros, supervisor on duty at the time, about her initial reaction to the robbery. “We ran outside and were screaming, ‘Help, help!’ But there wasn’t anybody. We were shaking.”
The thief, described to police as a 5-foot-10 to 6-foot tall male, exploited a lull in business between 7 and 7:30 p.m. While employees worked in the back of the kitchen and no customers around to witness, the robber swiped and ran.
“I was wiping the grill and a friend called me because she wanted me to work for her the next day, and then I just hear a noise,” said Biros. At that point, the cashier worker noticed the register was gone, and that’s when the panic in the kitchen ensued.
“This place has been open for 40 years and nothing like that ever happened,” said owner Sam Cariga, who was on Oahu when he received a call from an unsettled Biros. “They’ve broke inside coming in through the window (in the past), but they couldn’t get past the dining room, but nothing like that. We have desperate people.”
While the culprit got away before Biros or anyone else could get a clean look at him, he failed to make off with the register or any of its contents. Police recovered the register, along with clothes, worn presumably by the perpetrator, in a field across the street just over an hour after the original theft.
Despite the initial shock, the Drive-Inn continued to operate Wednesday night, handling money by calculator until the register was recovered.
Since then, it’s been back to business as usual, with one minor change.
“We put a chain on the register now,” said Cariga. “There’s no way they’re going to run with the register anymore.”
If you have any information regarding this incident, call the Molokai Police station at 553-5355 or crime stoppers at 808-242-6966.