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2 decades' worth of bartender's tips stolen in safe

June 10, 2013 9:45:06 PM PDT
A San Pedro bartender is devastated after a burglar took off with a safe containing a large amount of tips he's been saving for nearly a quarter-century. Police are asking for the public's help in tracking down the thief.

Detectives are looking for the burglary suspect. A neighbor's surveillance camera captured him exiting the backyard of a San Pedro home toting a small safe on his shoulders last week. Police believe the man forced his way into the residence, stole the safe and took off in a car.

The safe belongs to 51-year-old Fernando Silva. Silva says he kept it in his home to put the extra money he got from bartending inside of it. Silva says he has been saving his tips for 24 years, accumulating $178,000.

"I feel really bad. All of that money was for my family, for my sons," said Silva.

"I am devastated, mainly for my dad, because I know how hard he worked for that money," said son Fernando Silva Jr. "He's always working. He works a lot. He works every day."

Police say the elder Silva gave them a detailed ledger accounting for the $178,000 he saved over a more than two-decade period.

"At this point we are taking it to be a fact that he had that money in that safe. We are not disputing that," said LAPD Detective Don Eldridge. "There are possible suspects but have no information or evidence to point specifically at one person."

Police believe the suspect got into Silva's home through a window, or maybe picked the lock to the front door.

Silva says he believes whoever took that money knows the family.

"I don't want to point to somebody else, but I have an idea. But I don't want to say this guy did that or that guy did that," said Silva.

"It's a horrible story. That money was for the future of his kids and now it's gone. So we are going to try to get it back," said Eldridge.

"I want my money back because it's my sacrifice for all my life," said Silva.

If you have any information about this case, contact the LAPD at (877) LAPD-24-7.


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