Steve Fagalde walked into his restaurant at 10 a.m. on Wednesday morning last week and felt a cool draft he hadn’t expected. When he caught sight of the broken glass door leading outside, his heart dropped into his stomach.
“Instantly, I knew I had been broken into,” Fagalde said. “I sort of had the eerie feeling there was someone still here, so I went into my office, locked the door, started jumping on the cameras and looking back.”
Fagalde soon learned he was alone in his restaurant, but two men had broken into the business at approximately 5 a.m. They broke the glass door on the side of the restaurant, walked around the bar and went directly to the refrigerated wine room behind the bar.
“One goes straight to the cash drawer . . . the other guy goes straight to the wine room and tries to kick it open; the other guy stops working on the cash register and helps the guy at the wine room,” Fagalde said. “That tells me that they knew there was something more valuable back there, which there was.”
Fagalde explained the wine room contained hidden envelopes of cash. He kept a stash hidden among the bottles, and the employees kept their tip money there as well. Fagalde believes the burglars were aware of the cash and came for just that.
“They didn’t go anywhere else in the restaurant,” he said. “I don’t think they took anything else, they were there for something specific. They went straight from the door to the bar. They knew exactly where to go and went there.”
After looking at his security camera footage and deducing the nature of the crime, Fagalde contacted his wife, employees and authorities, in that order. A sheriff’s deputy called Fagalde and spoke with him on the phone before coming out to take a report. According to Lt. Mark Johnson, commander of the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office Delta Station, this is now standard practice for nonemergency calls to limit officers’ exposure to COVID-19.
“It depends on the type of call,” Johnson explained. “If it’s a priority one call or a domestic, yes, we go. If it’s anything non-priority, we typically call first, just to avoid personal contact.”
Johnson further noted that his office will be adding additional patrols since so many businesses will be sitting empty as a result of the county and state-mandated shelter-in-place order in effect until, at the soonest, April 7.
Johnson added the suspects made off with roughly $5,000 in cash.
Fagalde is taking extra precautions. He has locked up his food, wine and alcohol and installed additional security cameras.
“I’m truly nervous,” he said. “If we are forced to not be at our business, these people are going to take advantage of it. I can’t sit here and guard the business the entire time. But I’m going to be here every single day . . . I’ll be the first one here and the last one gone. It’s a little scary.”
DB Steakhouse is currently open for takeout orders. The restaurant is located at 2477 Discovery Bay Blvd., Discovery Bay. For hours, orders or more information, call 925-513-3435.