Two Tulsa restaurants robbed four hours apart on Monday saw not just the employees, but the customers, held at gunpoint. Police said they are currently working the robberies as two separate cases.
The robbers hit the Spaghetti Warehouse and a Braum's restaurant about two miles away. It was a scary situation for the employees and customers, but they said it was all over within minutes.
It was near closing time when two armed men charged inside Spaghetti Warehouse. General Manager Brian Douglas said six to nine customers were inside eating when one of the robbers approached a server.
"My first emotion was I was scared," Douglas said. "Grabbed her by the back of her hair, used her as a hostage 'til they found the manager, while the other one went around and collected cell phones from our staff and our guests."
This is the first time the downtown restaurant has been targeted by robbers. Douglas said the heist lasted about three minutes.
"They were taken back to the office where we unloaded the safe for them and they were in and out," Douglas said.
About an hour later, and two miles away, Tulsa Police were called to the Braum's on Gilcrease Museum Road for another robbery.
Sergeant Brandon Watkins, of the Tulsa Police, said, "It does share some similarities, but we're going to work them as two separate robberies at this time."
Watkins said witnesses gave the same vague description for both robberies. And in both cases, the crooks took customer's cell phones, went to the safe to get cash, and then returned the phones.
"No cell phone, credit card, wallet, whatever it is, is not worth your life," Watkins said.
A Spaghetti Warehouse worker who was held at gunpoint said her first instinct was to cooperate with the robbers. She's also thankful no one was hurt.
"Fortunately there wasn't a Samuel L. Jackson sitting in this particular restaurant. In Oklahoma, when you've got concealed carry, well open carry even, you're gambling with your life to go in there and get a little bit of money ‘cause there are guys packing," Watkins said.
Douglas said, "You hear about stuff like this happening, but until it really happens to you, there's no way to prepare for it in any way."
Braum's would not speak about the incident. However, Spaghetti Warehouse said it is providing counseling for employees and customers who were there during the robbery.
If you know anything about the robberies you can call Crime Stoppers at 918-596-COPS and possibly earn a cash reward.