Dining With Denise Neil

Wichita restaurant owner 'furious' about third break-in in two weeks, offers reward

Dempsey's Biscuit Co. is asking for help identifying this man, who stole boxes of food from a cooler early Thursday morning.
Dempsey's Biscuit Co. is asking for help identifying this man, who stole boxes of food from a cooler early Thursday morning.

After his third break-in in less than two weeks — and his sixth of the year — Dempsey's Biscuit Co. co-owner Sebastian Gordon says he is feeling "a little salty."

Make that "furious."

Now, he's asking for the public's help in identifying the person behind the most recent break-in and theft, which happened around 4 a.m. Thursday. Using security cameras, Gordon got a clear photo of the burglar, which he's posted on the Dempsey's Facebook page.

He's offering $1,000 for information that leads to the person's arrest and conviction.

The most recent burglary happened on Thursday, when two men broke into the restaurant's cooler, which sits on the back side of its building at 3425 E. Douglas. The men took boxes and boxes of food that was in storage.

Burglars also hit the cooler on each of the past two Sundays, taking cases of chicken, shrimp, salmon and beef, including a 75-pound box of beef.

"We've put new locks on it each time and different kind of locks, and they've smashed them all off," Gordon said.

Based on surveillance footage, Gordon says, he thinks the same culprit has hit the cooler the last three times. On Sunday, he finally got a clear picture of his face. The man is holding cardboard boxes with a hoodie pulled up over his head.

This is the sixth break-in of the year at Dempsey's Biscuit Co. There was at least one other cooler break-in, and in both January and March, windows in the front of the restaurant were smashed in. The first time, the vandals got $700. The second, they got nothing.

Gordon said he's beyond frustrated. He's not worried about the neighborhood, he said. In fact, he grew up near there. He thinks that the same people are targeting the restaurant over and over.

He doesn't have any issues at his Dempsey's Burger Pub in Clifton Square.

"And it's 50 yards away," he said. "The neighborhood is a wonderful place, and all our neighbors and regulars couldn't be better. There's always bad seeds."

Dempsey's next-door neighbor, College Hill Deli and Catering, also dealt with a string of break-ins in 2014. Owner Ali Yassine put up cameras, and now, he leaves his cash drawers empty and visible at night so anyone who peeks in can see there's nothing to take.

"I feel sorry for them," Yassine said of his neighbors. "It's not good for them, and it's not good for me."

Gordon said he's put up lights and cameras and is looking into other remedies. He's working closely with the police, but he thought the reward might speed up the process.

"I'm just furious," he said. "It goes a lot further than some food missing from a cooler. This is what the staff works for. This is what they try to do."

Gordon asks that anyone who recognizes the man in the picture call Dempsey's Biscuit Co. at 316-260-8579 or email dempseyswichita@gmail.com.

A Wichita bar patron takes a Kansas City Chiefs flag on Friday, but after video of the incident is broadcast on social media, the flag is returned on Sunday.

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