Police search for thief caught on camera in Southeast Roanoke bar

The man made off with $1,500

By Shayne Dwyer - Reporter

ROANOKE, Va. - A thief is on the run after stealing cash from a local small business. The man stole from Chaps Tavern in Southeast Roanoke and it was all caught on camera. Police have that video in hand and know who they're looking for. He's Robert Weiss, 51, and the bar believes he lives in the neighborhood.

Chaps isn't the shiniest bar in town but it means a lot to people, especially to the workers in the rail yard right across the street. They don't know if the bar will ever get its money back, but they want to catch the guy who did it.

When it's time to clock out and relax after a hard day's work, the folks inside Chaps become family and the bar is where they gather. It's hard to picture that stretch of Campbell Avenue without Chaps Tavern.

"It's like a Cheers of Southeast. It kills me to know that I was here with the other guy, who was just sitting next to me when it happened, but nobody noticed," Chaps customer Larry Grace said.

He's talking about the man in the orange shirt caught on video walking into Chaps around 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon. He'd come around  a few times before and police believe his name is Robert Weiss.

"He shouldn't have done it. He just came in and just watched everybody and saw a chance to do it and crawled underneath the counter and got it," Chaps Tavern owner Donald Janney said.

Like a wannabe James Bond, the man crawled on the floor behind the bar to grab cash that was in a bag below the register. He stuffed it under his shirt and grabbed his backpack just as the waitress came back. He walked out of the bar before she realized the money was gone.

"Somebody wanted to get some money out of the (gaming) machine. She came to check the bag and it was gone," Janney said. "She thought she lost it. She looked in the trash cans and everything."

The thief made off with $1,500. Chaps will certainly continue on just fine, but these people are a family, and they want him to know he picked the wrong one to mess with.

"This is our bar and for somebody to come in and take that money and hurt Donnie or hurt the rest of us, it just ain't right," Grace said.

As of Friday night, police are still looking for Robert Weiss. His arrest warrant is for felony larceny. If you know anything about where he may be, you're asked to call Roanoke police.

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