Police investigating robbery of California Pizza Kitchen

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CREVE COEUR, MO (KPLR) – There was another police scene at a Creve Coeur shopping center.  It was the third time in less than 4 months at the same center.

This time, a gunman held up workers at the California Pizza Kitchen on Olive about 9:10 Sunday night.

The restaurant had just closed.

Police and business owners considered all of the incidents “coincidence”.

It all started November 10.

A car crashed through the “Big Frog” T-Shirt shop.  The driver, 88, stepped on the gas pedal instead of the break.

The car nearly hit three workers.

One of them was hit by a desk sent flying by the car and was hurt.

Just about the time “Big Frog” got back to normal in January, someone was shot and killed at the AMC Theater across one parking lot.

The robbery Sunday was just across another parking lot from “Big Frog”.

A Pizza Kitchen worker was leaving for the night when a gunman approached and forced the worker back into the restaurant, police said.

“The employee and suspect went in.  That’s when they met the other employees inside the business.  That’s when he obtained the cash and fled the scene,” said Lt. Jon Romas of the Creve Coeur Police Department.

The suspect was on foot, he said.

“I don’t think there’s too much of a crime issue here,” said “Big Frog” owner, John Hall.

“The movie theater thing evidently somebody was targeted.  I am a little concerned about the thing at the Pizza Kitchen.”

“To kind of address concerns with that, we’ve increased patrols.  We’ll have officers pretty frequently.  So it’ll be an area that’s well staffed moving forward so everybody feels more comfortable with it,” Romas said.  “It is a coincidence,” Romas said. “I just was…looking at the crime stats for the area.  It’s a very low area where we really don’t have any crime to speak of.”

Police were checking surveillance video from nearby businesses including Big Frog, which has a view of the Pizza Kitchen employee entrance.

After all the action around here the past few months Hall and police agreed the shopping center was still  a safe place to go to work, buy a t-shirt, or grab a bite to eat.

Hall had a hub cap from the car mounted on his wall as a reminder of that.

The robbery suspect was a male, about six feet tall, dressed in black from head to toe with his face covered, police said.

As for the murder at the theater, detectives have identified "persons of interest" and hope to apply for arrest warrants soon.

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