YUBA CITY (CBS13) – A crook stole hundreds of dollars from a small business, and the owner had no idea, even though she was just a few steps away.

“I’m gonna find this guy. I’m gonna figure out who he is because I don’t want other people to get hurt on this street,” said Fotine’s owner Fotine Halikaskopriva on Thursday.

She’s fired up alright, and she’s ready to fight back.

“This is kind of the spot where I hang out,” said Halikaskopriva, pointing out the desk she was working at during the robbery.

Her music playing and ice maker humming, she couldn’t hear the creepy criminal tip-toeing toward her.

“Here I am, sitting here doing stuff and I’m writing, and I don’t have a clue that he’s behind me,” said Halikaskopriva.

She was closing up her Yuba City Greek cafe all alone.

“So he came in from this direction here,” Halikaskopriva pointed out.

The crook crept down a long hallway to the front counter. Halikaskopriva sat just feet away as he snatched her credit cards, IDs and a big cash deposit from her purse, and then he slipped out unnoticed.

“To have this happen, on top of it, right before payday for my staff, really hits hard,” said Halikaskopriva. “I don’t have that extra reserve.”

But she has plenty of fight. This small business owner is on a mission.

“That guy better watch out. That’s all I can say. He better watch out,” said Halikaskopriva.

She believes a man shown on surveillance, coming and going from the restaurant’s back door, is the culprit. The time frame fits.

Halikaskopriva says the suspect is lucky they never met face to face.

“There’s knives right here above the sink,” said Halikaskopriva. “If I would’ve seen him, I would’ve been after him.”

But could the brazen burglary have boosted her business?

Since word got out about the break-in, Halikaskopriva says sales are actually up. Neighboring shops have even organized an upcoming weekend event outside her restaurant, inviting 1,000 people on Facebook.

“We’ve gone from lemons with this situation, so sour as it is, to lemonade,” said Halikaskopriva.


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