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Burglars may have mistaken jukebox for ATM

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SAN DIEGO — San Diego police Thursday released surveillance video that shows the two people suspected of breaking into a Hooters restaurant in Rancho Bernardo and taking a jukebox investigators believe they mistook for an ATM.

hooters burglars

Video shows two burglars steal a jukebox from a Hooters restaurant in Rancho Bernardo.

The suspects drove a light-colored pickup truck up to the front of the restaurant at 16911 W. Bernardo Drive, where one got out and broke the glass door with an unknown object shortly after 4 a.m. Tuesday, San Diego police Lt. Andra Brown said.

The driver tried to back the truck into the business, but the door opening was too narrow, Brown said.  The passenger removed a tow strap from the bed of the truck and wrapped it around a freestanding 5-foot-tall jukebox located in the lobby of Hooters, Brown said.

That suspect pushed the machine though the lobby toward the doors and the driver helped get it into the truck before they drove off, Brown said.

Investigators believed the suspects mistook the jukebox for an ATM, Brown said.

Both suspects were described as in their late teens or 20s. They were wearing dark baggy clothing and hooded sweatshirts with the hoods pulled up over their heads.

Police said the vehicle was possibly a white or silver late 1980s model Nissan or Dodge pickup with a crew or extended cab. The truck hit the building as the suspect tried to back into the restaurant, which damaged its back sides and taillights. Pieces of the lights were left at the scene.Hooters Restaurant

“I see dumb kids in here all the time acting silly,” said Steve Price, a customer of Hooters. “I’m not surprised.”

Authorities did not say if they believe the men were in the restaurant earlier that night, but Price said he thinks they probably were.

“Maybe with all the drinks and all the “hooters” going around, their brains were just not thinking straight,” Price said.

Anyone with any information about this case is asked to contact the San Diego Police Department’s Northeastern Division at 858-538-8000.


  • Mark Justice

    When do you think they noticed their mistake?
    As an aside…did the machine have any tunes by Eddie Money or Johnny Cash?

  • Mistie Partin

    Police officers all over the world just choked on coffee thanks to the laughter this story caused! Thank the heavens that many criminals are this stupid!

    To play devil's advocate, however, I can't help wondering if it really was a mistake. There are all kinds of collectors out there, so I'm betting "Hooters" collectors can't be that hard to find! lol Throw in juke box collectors to the mix, and you've got mulitple audiences! Just a thought. :-)

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