Surveillance photos show armed robbery of Patois customers, staf - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

Surveillance photos show armed robbery of Patois customers, staff

The incident happened around 11 p.m. Thursday at Patois Restaurant, located in the 6000 block of Laurel Street. The incident happened around 11 p.m. Thursday at Patois Restaurant, located in the 6000 block of Laurel Street.
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

“When it started, we all thought it was a joke,” restaurant General Manager Lorenzo Reef said.

Patrons and staff inside Patois on Laurel Street quickly realized something terrible was happening when masked gunmen entered the restaurant Thursday at about 11 p.m.

“The first man came in. He was masked. He put a gun to the owner’s head and told him to get on the floor. About five seconds later, the other two gentlemen walked in,” Reef said.

“Everybody got down on the ground. Everybody listened,” owner Leon Touzet said.

Touzet said one of the gunmen started kicking him as the others were yelling for everyone to get down on the floor. The gunmen then went to the back and brought the sous chef, at gunpoint, from the kitchen to the front of the restaurant. He was told to get to the floor with about 10 to 15 other people.

“They started rifling through everybody’s pockets and purses and the cash registers,” Reef said.

Victims said the masked gunmen stayed for about 8 minutes, and then when they finished, they simply walked out.

“That was the surprising element to me. They stayed a little longer than I anticipated, and then when they left, they ordered us to get down and moseyed out of the restaurant,” Reef said.

Co-owner and Chef Aaron Burgau wasn't working when it happened, but arrived just minutes after the gunmen left. He said even after the brazen armed robbery, there was no question that the restaurant would open Friday for lunch and diner.

Copyright 2015 WVUE. All rights reserved.

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