A burglar with the midnight munchies has patronized a Long Island restaurant at least twice in the past week to sift through the restaurant's kitchen and, in one visit, prepare a gourmet meal for himself and steal money from the restaurant's cash register. The scene: Nelly's Taqueria in Hicksville, where a man has been caught on security cameras on both Monday and Tuesday night around 2 a.m. unlawfully entering the premises by prying open burglar bars on a back window.
On his first visit, the man looks to get the lay of the land, removing food from the refrigerator and then wrapping it back up, according to Newsday. On the second visit, however, the man takes the time to cook himself a full meal, spending about 45 minutes inside the restaurant making a meal of beans, shrimp and chicken—all of it in nearly complete darkness.
"He was working the pot like a pro. He was sifting the food. Shaking it around. Making sure it was heated evenly, distributed evenly," Nelly's manager told WABC. "He knew food safety skills. He would change gloves frequently after handling food and then handling another object."
While the pans were heating up, the thief pried open the cash register, pocketing $100 in cash—but politely left $1 in the tip jar on the counter.
After "savoring" his meal, the man washed, dried and hung up the pots and pans he'd used to cook, then wiped down all of the surfaces, even stooping to grab bits of food that had fallen to the floor. He also carefully wrapped the food and put it back in the fridge.
"He used the Saran Wrap the way I used Saran Wrap," according to owner Nelly Balacios. "You know like a pro."
The man was so meticulous that kitchen staff at the restaurant didn't notice anything was amiss until the restaurant's other owner, Will Colon, arrived and opened the cash register. "I said, 'Ramon, we were robbed!'—he hadn't noticed anything," Colon recalled to Newsday.