LAUDERDALE LAKES (CBSMiami) — It was a terrifying night for the manager of “La Granja” restaurant as a man held a pistol to his head last Friday. The restaurant is located on State Road 7 in Lauderdale Lakes. Just as the manager and three co-workers were about to leave — three gunmen rushed them.
“They were waiting outside for the manager who was closing up the restaurant when they were approached by three gunman,” explained BSO Spokeswoman Gina Carter. “Two of them were holding hand guns, one was holding a shotgun.”
Employees were marched back into the restaurant. Surveillance video showed one female employee taking cover behind the counter while a man patrols with a shot gun. BSO believes that the man was Ralph Estelhomme. They believe he was holding the employees hostage while the manager cleared out the safe. “These men were holding these employees at gunpoint and threatening their lives,” said Carter. “It was basically open the safe, give me the money or I’m going to kill you.
While one woman was hiding behind the counter, surveillance video showed she grabbed something from underneath and handed it over. At one point, something appeared to frighten the gunmen and they took off running. Estelhomme made it to a canal, not far from the restaurant.
A neighbor said he saw someone jump in the canal from the other side — trying to swim away from officers who were on his tail. “He swim and come over to this side,” he said.
He didn’t get too far. BSO was waiting for him. According to investigators it didn’t take Estelhomme long before he confessed to the whole thing.
Detectives believe he and his buddies are responsible for at least one other robbery nearby.
BSO is looking for Estelhomme’s friends, who go by the street names “Juvi and Boosie.”
They believe the two were also involved in the robbery.
Deputies say another man served as a “look out.” The group is also believed to have pulled off another armed robbery at a nearby Dollar General store.
If you have information call Broward Crime Stoppers at (954) 493-TIPS.
Crime Stoppers will pay up to $3,000 for information that leads to an arrest.