SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The Savannah Police Department is searching for two suspects who robbed a Habersham Street business.
According to police, officers were called to Yia Yia’s Kitchen around 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Police say two masked black males entered the business with guns and demanded money from the registers and from the employees. They left the store with an undisclosed amount of cash and personal property from the victims and were last seen driving a dark green Kia Soul that had previously been reported stolen.
One of the subjects is described as a slim-built black male who was wearing black pants, black shoes, a yellow traffic vest, a medical mask and gloves. The other subject was described as a slim-built black male who was wearing a gray hoodie, blue jeans, ball cap, a mask, and black and white Nike sneakers.
“It was very traumatizing, but like I’ve instructed all of my employees just give them the money," said Yia Yia’s Kitchen owner Stathy Stathopoulos.
In a matter of about 30 seconds, employees at Yia Yia’s Kitchen experienced something they never saw coming. In broad daylight, their store was a target of an armed robbery.
“They came straight to the register, one had what appeared to be like a big handgun, possibly a 45 caliber, the other went around the counter.”
The two men were masked and store owner Stathy Stathopoulos says they approached his son and his son’s girlfriend asking for money from the register or a safe and for any wallets either one of them had. All while a gun was pointed right at them.
“Given COVID, it’s changed how businesses do operate and with less people in the places it’s creating an environment for crime.”
Stathopoulos says only two of his employees were there at the time of the incident and no customers were around.
“You can tell when this happened it was like they knew what they were doing. They came in, it happened real quick, in and out, and before anyone could react they were gone.”
Stathopoulos says ever since they opened more than 6 years ago, he’s invested in a lot of safety equipment and he encourages other businesses to continue to be proactive in doing so.
Stathopoulos says ever since they opened more than 6 years ago, he’s invested in a lot of safety equipment and he encourages other businesses to continue to be proactive in doing so. Police say be vigilante.
“Know what’s going on, know where you’re at, know what time you’re open, what time you’re out, lighting at night, being self aware during the day, looking behind you, looking around you, look for suspicious people sitting in cars," said Corporal Barry Lewis, Neighborhood Resource Officer with the Central Precinct.
According to the Savannah Police Department, other restaurants including The Black Rabbit and Sly’s Burger and Fries have also had armed robberies in the last month. However, police aren’t considering it to be a trend because it does happen quite often.
“The perception is it’s Ardsley Park, it’s safe, but honestly there’s a lot of places throughout Savannah and throughout the county that are not safe.”
He says officers, like himself, are active in the neighborhoods and always have an eye out for suspicious activity.
“Being transparent in what we’re doing, which is stepping up extra patrol, putting some undercover in the area and making the area safe in general. Sometimes you won’t see us, sometimes you will.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police.
Tipsters can contact SPD’s Violent Crimes Tip Line at (912) 525-3124 or CrimeStoppers at (912) 234-2020. Tipsters remain anonymous. Tips can also be submitted through a CrimeStoppers online tip portal at https://www.p3tips.com/tipform.aspx?ID=757.