Restaurant owners recognize, chase burglary suspect seen on surveillance video

Police: Man was still carrying pry bar

DENVER - Denver police say brothers-in-law who own a restaurant and hookah bar on Colfax Avenue recognized a burglary suspect from their surveillance video and chased him.

At Pita Grill and Hookah, 911 E. Colfax Ave., Karim Moulkelleh and Said Ouag are more used to cooking than crime fighting. On Wednesday morning, however, the brothers-in-law studied surveillance video of a burglar that broke into their brand-new business.

"I watched it at least 10 times in one hour," said Moulkelleh. "I watched it and rewatched it."

The next day, Moulkelleh saw the man again.

"When I saw his eyes, I recognized him from his face," he said. "And he was wearing the same clothes, too."

Moulkelleh immediately called to Ouag, who quickly called 911.

Police records state that an officer driving by saw an argument between the men and came to help.

The suspect tried to run away, said Moulkelleh, but he chased after him and tackled him.

"I was so lucky," Moulkelleh said with a laugh. "The police car was next to us in 15 seconds. He was there."

Police records state that the officer heard a pry bar fall from the suspect's clothes. They arrested James Harvey, 50, on complaints of second-degree burglary and possession of burglary tools.

Now, Moulkelleh and Ouag say they are back to what they are good at.

"I'm really grateful for that officer actually," said Moulkelleh. "If he comes back here, I'm going to give him a free meal!"

Their stolen cash and laptop still haven't been returned, but sounding more like crimefighters than cooks, the business owners say they don't care about what was stolen in the end.

"We care that those kind of guys should not be on the street because it's a threat for everybody," said Moulkelleh.

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