THIEVES stole up to £5000 of takings from a city centre burger restaurant and “trashed” the back office in an early-morning raid.
Staff at Rascals, on South Bridge, have been busy counting the cost of the “horrific” damage in the staff area after the break-in, which saw the culprits cut telephone wires, smash up the CCTV system and remove wooden panels to disable the alarm system before stealing a safe.
They are believed to have used crow bars to force entry into the side entrance to the back office in Drummond Street in the early hours of yesterday.
Director Jamie Anderson – who is certain that the raid was carefully planned out rather than opportunistic – said that repairs to the backroom areas would cost more than £1000.
The safe contained three days of takings from a busy weekend, estimated to be between £4000 and £5000.
He said: “It’s just a shambles. They took the safe out – they jemmied it off the floor. They must have had crowbars and a car outside.
“On Drummond Street, where they made the entry, there’s lots of flats above. Somebody has to have seen something. It seems like a professional job.”
A police forensics team combed the restaurant for fingerprints yesterday afternoon, however they suspect the thieves were wearing gloves.
Nothing was stolen or damaged from the customer areas.
Mr Anderson added: “They have ripped everything out and the CCTV has been smashed up. Hopefully we can take the hard drive and get something off it. They smashed up the camera.
“The damage is horrific – the office looks like a bomb has gone off. I think it will take a few thousand pounds to get everything fixed.”
The diner was open for business yesterday, with staff asking customers to be patient while the WiFi and card payment services were reinstated.
And the Rascals team tried to “make something good of the situation” by creating a social media competition to poke fun at the thieves.
Mr Anderson has encouraged customers to suggest hashtags about the incident to be in with a chance of winning a free burger.
Among the suggestions so far have been “#dirtyweerascals” and “#hamburglar”.
Mr Anderson added: “[The thieves] have tried to trash it, but we want to say that we’re still open.”
The incident came just a day after around £10,000 was stolen from Dalkeith trampoline park Ryze in Mayfield Industrial Estate. The complex, which only opened on Saturday, was broken into that night.
Anyone with information about the incidents should contact police on 101 or anonymous hotline Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.