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SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Authorities reached out to the public Friday for help in identifying a trio of thieves who carried out a predawn burglary this week at a College-area deli-restaurant.

The masked men, each wearing a hooded sweatshirt, used a crowbar to force entry to DZ Akins in the 6900 block of Alvarado Road about 4:45 a.m. Thursday, according to San Diego police.

“Wife called crying when she saw the video,” DZ Akins owner Elan Akin said, “because as hard it is to hear, to see it, it’s disturbing knowing there are people out there causing trouble like that.”

The burglars then stole a safe from the business, using a dolly to move it to a waiting silver or light-gray SUV with chrome spoke wheels, possibly a 2009 to 2012 model Ford Escape. After loading the lockbox into the vehicle, the bandits fled in it to the east.

Surveillance cameras captured images of the thieves.

Although the restaurant lost the safe in the burglary, they may not have gotten all they were looking for as the restaurant shifted most transactions to credit cards, leaving it relatively light. Akin said it had several thousand dollars in cash inside, a big portion of which was tips customers left for the staff.

“They seemed a little more professional, so maybe these weren’t the poor COVID sufferers,” Akin said. “Maybe these are the kind of people who take advantage when others are suffering.”

He said he’s going to make sure his staff is tipped out correctly despite the theft and has been heartened by customers coming to his families restaurant in support.

“It’s nice to know that San Diego is here for us,” he said.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call San Diego County Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477 or contact the agency online at Tipsters may remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

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