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HOUSTON The kitchen inside Mai s Restaurant in Midtown has been cooking up Vietnamese food for hungry Houstonians for nearly four decades.

It s definitely an institution in the city of Houston, said longtime customer Dung Tran.

But earlier this month, with the restaurant dark, quiet and closed, suspects cooked up a crime that s shaken general manager Anna Pham.

Paranoia kicks in because you don t know who did this, what do they know, what do they have of mine? said Pham.

One suspect tried to break through the front door with a crow bar. He struggled and gave up trying to get through the front, only to finally get in through the back emergency door before bolting through the restaurant.

You can tell he s excited he got in, said Pham.

Every move the suspects made was being followed on 16 cameras and now folks at Mai s hope it helps identify the culprits.

You don t want this person on the street because it could be you next, said Pham.

The office doors were locked but that didn t stop him. In the video, one suspect can be seen violently kicking the door until he busts it in open.

It was like a hurricane everything was everywhere, said Pham.

The restaurant opened the next day, but the thieves had snatched almost $60,000 in cash, iPads, computers and accessories.

I want to be able to pin one person down and whoever is responsible for this, said Pham.

It s the second major blow for Mai s in four years. The restaurant was destroyed by a two-alarm fire in 2010. But Pham says this hurts more.

I worked hard for this, my family works hard for this, said Pham. It took a while to get back.

Customers backed them then, and by the looks of the lunch crowd Thursday are doing it again. In the meantime, Mai s is beefing up security and hoping someone knows the man who romped through their restaurant.

If you have any information, call Crime Stoppers at (713) 222-TIPS or HPD detective Richard Barajas at (713) 308-0993.

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