East Bay armed robbers target Asian restaurants

Police in several East Bay cities said today that they are working together to try to catch two armed robbery suspects that police believe are mainly targeting Asian restaurants.

Police believe the same two men may be responsible for robberies at restaurants in Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, Oakland, San Leandro and Union City.

Albany police Sgt. Tom Dolter said what's unusual is that the suspects aren't just robbingthe cash register at the restaurants they're targeting but are also robbing customers and employees.

Although the suspects are armed with semi-automatic handguns, no one has been harmed in any of the incidents, police said.

Dolter said the suspects are generally described as black men in their 20s with hooded sweat shirts pulled over their faces.

The most recent incident was at 6:25 p.m. Monday when robbers took $330 from the Sizzler restaurant at 665 San Pablo Ave. in Albany.

Although Sizzler isn't an Asian restaurant, police believe the same suspects may be responsible because the suspect descriptions and the method of the robbery are similar to previous robberies, Dolter said.

One difference is that there was a third suspect, described as a black male between the ages of 17 and 20 who was 5-foot-10 and was heavy set and weighed about 250 pounds, Dolter said. Witnesses said they didn't see a gun on the third suspect, he said.

At about 8 p.m. Friday, two suspects matching the descriptions of the robbers in the other incidents struck at Kasuga Japanese Restaurant at 938 San Pablo Ave., just a few blocks away from the Sizzler restaurant.

The suspects got away with about $400, Kolter said.

Berkeley police spokeswoman Sgt. Mary Kusmiss said King Tsin on Solano Avenue, near Berkeley's border with Albany, was robbed on Dec. 10 and Lilly's Restaurant at 1580 Hopkins St. was robbed in August.

San Leandro police spokesman Sgt. Tom Overton said the Tsuru Sushia restaurant at 146 East 14th Street in downtown San Leandro was robbed on Nov. 23.

The robbers took about $1,000 from the cash register and about $200 from 10 to 12 customers who were at the restaurant at the time, Overton said.

“The incident was very similar to restaurant takeover robberies in Oakland and Berkeley and we're working very closely with police in those cities” to try to solve the crimes, Overton said.

Oakland police spokesman Roland Holmgren was unavailable for comment on robberies at Asian restaurants in Oakland.

In other incidents, Daimo Chinese restaurant at the Pacific East Mall in Richmond was robbed on Nov. 26 and Yusan Sushi on San Pablo Avenue in El Cerrito was robbed on Dec. 4.

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