CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Investigators are continuing their search for three people who robbed employees of a Charleston restaurant as they were closing for the night Wednesday.
Officers responded to La Tabella in the 900 block of Harbor View Road at 10:29 p.m. for an armed robbery.
Police say all three bandits had guns and had their faces covered. La Tabella cook Andrew Newman wasn't there when it happened, but his sister was.
"They held my sister up at gunpoint and took every bit of money out of our safe and our cash drawer," Newman said.
Police say the robbers were staking out the place outside the back door.
They made their move when one employee went outside to take out the trash.
"They were all out the back gate and pretty much they bum rushed my employees, put them up against the wall in the back," Newman said.
Newman says the robbers then went after his sister.
"They followed my sister inside, talked to her in the office, told her to give all the money and she opened up the safe, gave them all the money. Then he said this isn't enough, where's the rest of it. He then shoved the gun in her back and walked her to the front of the restaurant, and she gave him the rest of the money out of our cash drawer," Newman said.
Kathy Cavanaugh owns a liquor store in the same shopping center.
Cavanaugh's store was held up twice a few years ago.
"I think it wakes us all up and tells us we have to be more cautious about when we leave our doors open, just not leaving employees alone and it's just a wake up call," Cavanaugh said.
Newman says from now on the back door will be open only for deliveries. He's glad his sister and the other employees were not hurt.
"I really hope they get caught. I hate a thief. My dad's always taught me to hate a thief and I have no respect for people like this," Newman said.
Police say the robbers also took all of the employees' cellphones.
Anyone with information should call Charleston Police or Crime Stoppers.