Restaurant manager stays late to bust burglars

April 23, 2013 at 1:38 PM   |   Comments

NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla., April 23 (UPI) -- The manager of a Florida restaurant repeatedly targeted by burglars decided to perform a stakeout at the facility, leading to two arrests.

Bernadette Gonzales, manager of Spinnakers Lounge in North Miami Beach, said she decided to stay at the business after closing March 5 after burglars broke in Feb. 6 and 19 and unsuccessfully attempted to break into the kitchen March 4, The Miami Herald reported Tuesday.

Gonzales said she hid in a storage room and called 911 when she heard the sound of someone trying to get inside around 3 a.m.

"The only thing I regret is not having a gun with me," Gonzales said. "In my mind, they were never going to break in. They were going to get caught before they came in."

Police soon arrived and arrested John William Hatfield, 20, and Nelson Nieves, 33, as they were leaving the restaurant through the front door.

Gonzales said Nieves used to work in the same cluster of businesses as the restaurant and Hatfield had been in the eatery a few hours before the break-in.

Thomas Carney, director of police services, said police do not recommend burglary victims emulate Gonzales' actions.

"There are too many things that could go wrong," he said. "She could have been hurt when she was hiding, or her phone could have stopped working."

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