Robbers hit Smashburger in La Jolla: Incident may be latest in string of restaurant holdups

Police: Robbery matches backdoor bandit incidents

LA JOLLA, Calif. -  At least two suspects held up a fast food restaurant worker in La Jolla and the incident matches a string of robberies that have been committed throughout  the city, authorities said Monday.

The latest incident took place at a Smashburger located in the 1000 block of Prospect Street.

Police said two suspects with face masks and a handgun walked into the backdoor of the restaurant after it closed and confronted one of the workers inside. The men took an undisclosed amount of cash and fled through the same backdoor they used to enter the business.

Police said the incident at Smashburger appears to match a series of robberies that have been occurring at restaurants during early morning hours. So far, there have been a dozen incidents, according to police.

Over the weekend, two more robberies took place a few miles and an hour apart, police said Sunday.

The first incident occurred at Cotixan Mexican & Seafood at 4676 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. about 1:35 a.m.

According to reports, two suspects wearing black shirts, black pants and masks entered through the back door, used guns to rob the restaurant, then fled.

About an hour later two men described as wearing the same clothes and carrying handguns, robbed a Rigoberto's Taco Shop on La Jolla Boulevard.

Police said the robberies are being investigated as part of a string of taco shop holdups that have been happening in the past few weeks. The robberies follow a pattern of going after cash only and targeting taco shops with light security early.

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