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SALT LAKE CITY — A burglar caught in broad daylight diving through the drive-thru window at a café in Sugar House likely got away empty-handed, thanks to a barista.
The saying goes, "The best defense is a good offense." Perhaps that’s never more true when you feel about what you're defending the way Alex Rice feels about The Red Moose café in Sugar House.
"This is like my home," Rice said. "This is the best place in the whole world, let me just tell you. It’s just a family here, honestly."
Rice’s shift as a barista on Wednesday began like any other day, cleaning and serving customers, until 3:42 p.m.
She was sweeping at the time and said, "I just see him right down this alleyway, like halfway in the window."
Surveillance video shows the stranger roll up to the drive-thru window on a bike. He leans it against the outside wall of the café, adjusts his fanny pack, and then slides open the window.
"He was halfway through here just hanging over the edge," she remembers.
Rice saw the man open the cash drawer and grab the bills inside. And then she did something that she now understands could have ended much differently.
"I think I startled him because I just charged at him and was yelling," she said. "I actually was starting to think about whether that was the best call, because what if I put myself in a dangerous situation?"
Fortunately, she was not hurt.
A #burglar on a bike climbs through a drive-thru window in #Sugarhouse in broad daylight. We spoke to the barista who wasn’t about to let the cafe go undefended. Watch how she responds and hear her talk about it on @KSL5TV at 10pm. pic.twitter.com/rRftpuKK7u— Matt Rascon (@MattRasconNews) April 19, 2019
Surveillance video from inside shows Rice sprint into view right up to the drive-thru window and the burglar. "We made full-on eye contact.”
She says his eyes were blue, and he looked like he was average height, in his 30s, with a scruffy beard and a blue bike.
"He was like, 'Oh, sorry,' and he just dropped (the money)" Rice said. She doesn’t think he got away with any cash.
In this case, the best offense was Alex Rice.
"I’m just standing there like, "Wow!" And then I just put my fists up like 'I’m a hero!'" she said. "He didn’t win. Nope. I was just so happy he didn’t win."
She was also happy to defend a place that, for her, has become much more than just a drive-thru café over the last three years.
"Some people are like, 'I don’t know if I would have done that,'" Rice said. "But I feel proud because this is my home."
The Red Moose café owners told KSL TV they filed a police report and that officers were investigating.