AUGUSTA, Ga. — Residents in Augusta, Georgia, who noticed the damage Saturday to The Diablos Southwest Grill quickly dubbed the culprit the “Burrito Bandit,” but owner Carl Wallace saw a bad situation and an opportunity to help.
“To the would-be robber who is clearly struggling with life decisions or having money issues... please swing by for a job application. There are better opportunities out there than this path you’ve chosen,” Wallace wrote in a Facebook post hours after an unidentified man damaged his Wheeler Road restaurant and made off with an empty cash register.
Wallace also offered the suspect his personal cell phone number and a heartfelt plea: “No police, no questions. Let’s sit down and talk about how we could help you and fix the road you’re on.”
Wallace told WJBF that the burglar, whom a handful of other business owners believe may be responsible for break-ins at their establishments as well, was only in his restaurant for about 45 seconds before the alarm frightened him away. He did confirm that the suspect broke into the establishment using a brick and ripped the empty register from its perch, causing damage in both areas.
“(Fellow business owners have) actually sent me pictures of their break-ins. It’s the same white hoodie, the same statue individual. I don’t think this is (a) one and done, so hopefully, this person decides to change career paths,” Wallace told the TV station.
“We decided to take a different approach and reach out to the person and say, ‘Look, come sit down, and let’s talk; give you an opportunity in life that will change your life because this career path that you’re on is not going to work out for you,’” Wallace said, adding, “It’s easier to spread love than hate.”