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Violent Chesterfield restaurant robbery leaves business owners shaken

Posted at 11:37 PM, Jul 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-09 00:01:48-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- A manager at Chesterfield Mexican restaurant Mr. Pepe was hit in the neck with a pistol during a robbery nearly four weeks ago.

Chesterfield Police have identified one suspect and say he is still on the run.

The restaurant is tucked behind a tire shop on Hull Street near Genito Road in what's normally a quiet Chesterfield shopping center.

"Things like this tend to happen and people say, ‘Oh wow, don't go there. It's a bad neighborhood,’ and that's the last thing we want, because it's really not,” said Steve Bryant, who owns a music business a few doors down.

Bryant said that everyone with a business in the area took notice of the June 13th robbery.

"First thing we do before we leave, is lookout and check out our surroundings because people can hide behind the poles, you know,” said Bryant. “And if something looks like it doesn't belong, we will wait."

Chesterfield Police say they are now looking for 20-year-old Lazaro Avalos Ortiz in connection with the robbery in which three employees were tied up and held at gun and knife-point after the restaurant had closed.

Police believe Ortiz had carjacked someone just prior to the robbery.

Crime Insider sources say Ortiz and at least one other person threatened employees and struck one across the neck with a pistol.

"I've been robbed before, not here, but before, and I've stared down the barrel of a gun,” said Bryant. “I know that fear. I've been there. It's a fear that takes a while to go away and I feel bad for them because I know the struggle that the guys and girls up there are going through. But do I think it'll happen again? I don't think so."

Crime Insider sources say the suspects got away with several thousand dollars

If you know where Lazaro Avalos Ortiz is, call police.