Leesburg restaurant owner fights back against robber

Leesburg police officer are looking for an armed robber who approached a restaurant owner, pointed a gun to his face, and then stole a briefcase full of cash. That restaurant owner almost caught the crook, but he managed to escape.

Cousin Vinnie's is famous in Lake County for their chicken wings, and now, for the owner's brush with this robber. Owner Vincent Vittoria said he had just parked his truck on the side of the building and stepped outside with his Coach briefcase filled with cash and business information.

Vittoria said, "I didn't pay much attention, and I brushed him off, and he pulled my brief case out of my hand. I pulled it back. Then, he put a gun to my head."

That was around 7 o'clock Monday evening.  At the time, Vittoria said he made a decision to do all he could to get his briefcase back and catch the crook.

"This is a really dumb criminal.  I went here and saw him at the end of the strip.  Then a lot of things start to go through your mind," he said.  "I don't want to shoot him; if I chase him down, I become a vigilante taking the law into my own hands, and that's not the right thing to do.  I have a family, two businesses."

He got back inside his truck and chased the robber when he took off in his brown, red, or maroon SUV. 

Vittoria is colorblind and not entirely certain of the vehicle's color, but he is sure of what the suspect looks like.

"He looks like [rapper and television personality] Flavor Flav.  Very similar."

Vittoria explained, "I had my gun. I rolled the window down, pointed it and said, 'Put my briefcase down!'  I could have shot him right then, but then what? Then I'm in big trouble.  My thought process was just get a lot of attention and get police to come.  He took off that way in an SUV.  I was screamin' right behind him."

But the robber got away, for now.

If you know anything, contact the Leesburg Police Department.

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