Man breaks into family-owned restaurant in Southgate, steals $500 from register

Family says suspect has previously dined at restaurant

Southgate family-owned restaurant targeted by thief

SOUTHGATE, Mich. – A family-owned Southgate restaurant is targeted by a thief in the middle of the night.

The thief was in and out within a minute, went to the cash register and stole about $500.

“It cost us two days of work to replace everything he took,” said owner Alba Sulaj.

The Sulaj family has owned Southgate Grill for six years, and for the first time, the family business was robbed. 

Original report: Man uses landscaping rock to break into Southgate restaurant, police say

“We barely made it through this pandemic and ... we always felt safe here, we’ve always felt safe here. Just knowing someone can do that and it’s scary too because you don’t know if he’s gonna come back,” said Alba Sulaj.

At about 2 a.m. Tuesday, a man walked up and smashed through the front door. He didn’t wait for the glass to fall before making his way to the cash register. 

“He tried to take it with him and then he couldn’t because he figured out it was plugged in, so he opened it and took all the money,” Alba Sulaj said. 

Alba’s mother had to close early Sunday evening. Usually she empties the register, and the restaurant was closed for Labor Day. 

“It’s really frustrating. My heart breaks more for my parents because I know it was hard on them and having to replace the door and they work really hard to keep this place open,” Alba Sulaj said.

Between the robbery and replacing the door, the Sulaj family is out more than a grand. 

“Losing money one day sets us back a lot. My parents been owning restaurants for 15 years. They make enough to pay bills and put us through school but that’s about it,” she said.

Alba said the thief has dined there before. 

“I hope that he has a good excuse for taking it. Maybe he needed to pay his bills,” she said. “I always think there’s something bad before good so something good definitely has to come after this.”

About the Author:

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism