Tex-Mex restaurant in Cypress goes cashless after 4th robbery in less than 1 year, management says

Jessica Willey Image
Tuesday, February 28, 2023
Tex-Mex restaurant in Cypress goes cashless after 4th robbery
Management at Gringo's Mexican Kitchen in Cypress decides to go cashless after its fourth robbery in less than a year.

CYPRESS, Texas (KTRK) -- A popular restaurant chain is making a big change at one of its locations after being victimized one too many times.

Sparks flew inside the office at the Gringo's Tex-Mex Kitchen in Cypress early Monday morning, and restaurant management vows it will be the last time.

"We're not taking it lightly," Heather McKeon, Chief Marketing Officer for Gringo's Tex-Mex, said. "'We've had enough, and we're now calling the shots,' is what we're saying."

Surveillance cameras caught the two burglars just after they were dropped off along the Northwest Freeway feeder road at about 3:45 a.m.

They ran through the parking lot and, once at the building, made entry by shattering a window. Then, they make their way to the office, where the video shows them going right for the safe. One man, who carried a tool bag in, sawed it open as the other appeared to be on the phone, perhaps talking to their getaway driver.

McKeon said the suspects were in and out within minutes and got away with all the cash from the weekend.

"It was obviously a very timed and plotted scenario, being off Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. They took advantage of that timing," she said.

It was the fourth burglary at the Cypress location in less than a year, McKeon said. The building has cameras, an alarm system, and other security measures, which makes it all the more frustrating. Gringo's President and CEO, Russell Ybarra, tweeted about it Monday.

"Burglaries in Harris County have gotten way out of hand," he tweeted.

"We're a community restaurant. We're here to serve our patrons, and at this point, we're not an ATM," McKeon said when asked about Ybarra's tweet.

In response, the restaurant tested security systems and will add around-the-clock security officers. Additionally, the Cypress location will be cashless starting Friday, March 3.

"I know that can be seen in a negative light from the consumer perspective, but we do offer a mobile pay system, so we don't have to take your credit card," McKeon explained.

As for the burglary, McKeon said they do not think it was an inside job. However, they believe all the recent burglaries are connected to the same people. They want other restaurants to be aware and hope customers understand their decision to go cashless.

"We want to be a successful restaurant, and in order to do that, we need to get those guys out of here," McKeon said.

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