Chef, her daughter fight back against man trying to steal food from Westminster business - Video

David González Image
Tuesday, August 9, 2022
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Video shows the moment a chef and her daughter fought back against a suspected thief who made it inside her Westminster business and tried to get away with food.

WESTMINSTER, Calif. (KABC) -- Video shows the moment a chef and her daughter fought back against a suspected thief who made it inside her Westminster business and tried to get away with food.

Owner Carol Garnier said the man, who is possibly a transient, got inside around 7:45 p.m. Sunday after her last customer left. When the customer left, the door didn't lock.

In surveillance video captured inside Prepped with Love, Garnier's normal Sunday night of meal prepping and catering turned chaotic in less than 30 seconds when the man entered the restaurant and made a straight bee-line toward the food in the fridge.

"My instincts just kick in. I don't even know how I knew how to grab that table and push it against him, but it's just all of the adrenaline, I just did what I had to do," said Mary Dao, Garnier's daughter. "I needed to protect the food and get him out of here."

"We just used the table to just kind of gear him away from the restaurant," Garnier said. "I didn't want him to enter and get behind the counter. That's where our knives are, or go deeper into the fridge and get all of the meals.

"If you just ask, I am more than happy to make you something to eat, but the fact he didn't say anything," Garnier said. "He just came in and just aggressively tried to steal our food is what got me."

Garnier said they didn't have time to react.

"Mama bear just sprung into action to protect my property, my daughter and anything further to be damaged," she said.

In the video, the man is seen throwing a beer can at Dao's face. She was not injured.

They said they were not going to let him get away with their hard work.

"I was ready to get down and use my hands if I needed to," Dao said. "We've been working hard making food all day and that belonged to somebody. They paid for that and you just can't come in here and take what's not yours."

Garnier said they did file a report with Westminster police. Police say they recognize the man captured on surveillance video and they're actively looking for him.