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Police search for suspect in burglary of Kakaako restaurants

  • COURTESY AOKI GROUP
                                A screenshot from surveillance video shows a suspect breaking into 1938 Indochine and Qing Mu Noodles, on Dec. 26, in Kakaako.

    COURTESY AOKI GROUP

    A screenshot from surveillance video shows a suspect breaking into 1938 Indochine and Qing Mu Noodles, on Dec. 26, in Kakaako.

  • COURTESY AOKI GROUP
                                A screenshot from surveillance video shows a suspect breaking into 1938 Indochine and Qing Mu Noodles, on Dec. 26, in Kakaako.

    COURTESY AOKI GROUP

    A screenshot from surveillance video shows a suspect breaking into 1938 Indochine and Qing Mu Noodles, on Dec. 26, in Kakaako.

  • COURTESY AOKI GROUP
                                A screenshot from surveillance video shows a man suspected of breaking into 1938 Indochine and Qing Mu Noodles, on Dec. 26, in Kakaako.

    COURTESY AOKI GROUP

    A screenshot from surveillance video shows a man suspected of breaking into 1938 Indochine and Qing Mu Noodles, on Dec. 26, in Kakaako.

Honolulu restaurateur Kevin Aoki says his two Kakaako restaurants — 1938 Indochine and Qing Mu Noodles — were robbed on the morning after Christmas.

Aoki, who has filed a police report and captured video footage of the theft in action, said in an Instagram post that a man broke into the two restaurants at 7 a.m. on Saturday.

“The timing was tough,” Aoki told the Star-Advertiser. “It was so uncomfortable to feel someone coming to [rob] … my brand new store. I put so much time and effort into it. I realized what it would feel like to get robbed. I was thinking about other businesses that go through this. I felt I want to expose this guy so he doesn’t rob somewhere else.”

The pair of restaurants, which recently opened over the summer offering Southeast Asian street food and Vietnamese noodles, are at 602 Ala Moana Boulevard and on the ground-floor, retail portion of the high-rise condominium known as The Collection.

The man broke in through the door facing Ala Moana Boulevard, according to Aoki, and stole electronic equipment such as tablets used for online orders, which were ripped from counters, and stereo parts. He also stole some whiskeys and high-end wines.

He estimates the stolen goods were worth about $5,000.

In the first few photos captured via video, the man appears to have very short, close-cropped dark hair, and was wearing a black T-shirt with a white palm tree graphic on the back, along with colorful shorts and a pink-and-red-striped backpack. Before he breaks in, however, Aoki noted that he changed into khaki-colored shorts and puts on a mask.

He placed stolen items into one of two grey trash bins and dragged them out a side door.

“To the person who stole from us: we have clear footage of you on all 20 of our security cameras,” Aoki wrote on Instagram. “A police report has been filed as well as pawnshops have been notified of the stolen items. To all of our friends, if you recognize this man, please contact us. Please feel free to share this info on with others. We do have a reward for information leading up to this person’s arrest.”

Aoki, who also owns Doraku Sushi, said it was the first time he has been robbed in this manner in Hawaii. Still, he and staff cleaned up the restaurant, and brought in an electrician to fix the pulled-out wires, and reopened as soon as they were able to that same day. Aoki said he was relieved that no one was injured.

“It’s such a small community here,” he said. “You don’t think of something like this happening.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the police or contact the restaurant at 544-0005.

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