NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - "I said to my husband, I feel so safe because Vincent's is right next door and the lights are on, and so many people walk by. I never dreamed it would happened right next door to me," says Lilly Painters.
Painters says an armed robbery inside Vincent's Italian Cuisine on St. Charles Avenue is too close to home.
"This is going to make me far more vigilant," says Painters.
"I'm shocked - right here on St. Charles. This is a busy street," says Kay Briscoe.
Police say it was just before midnight when a man walked into the restaurant wearing a face mask and gloves. They say he forced employees from the rear of the restaurant to the front, where he told two cashiers to put the money in a bag he brought in with him. After getting the money, the gunman took off.
"You just don't think about that when you go in here," says Briscoe.
The owner of the restaurant told FOX 8 that at the time of the robbery there were no patrons inside. Five employees, though, were still there. He said the masked man ran in through a back door.
"I hate to see anyone have to go through that, but I guess it is a benefit that it wasn't packed with people. I feel so appreciative that no one was harmed," says Painters.
"I think any time something like that happens, it's really alarming and it's scary as a business owner, "says Mike Costantini.
Costantini owns Satsuma Café on Maple Street. He says when another restaurant is robbed, business owners in that area take notice.
"We just kind of try to be more vigilant when something like this happens. We have cameras to hopefully deter it, but I guess you never know why things like that happen," says Costantini.
"It will make me rethink my own behavior, and the lights. I will be more aware of my surroundings," says Painters.
The owner of Vincent's tells FOX 8 that the robbery will not deter him from opening up for a lunch crowd. The restaurant's been a staple along St. Charles Avenue since 1989.
"I think that's great. I'd hate to see them close down just because of one person," says Briscoe.