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Community rallies to support beloved Denver bar, restaurant that was burglarized

The Brutal Poodle said $8,000 in cash was stolen from its safe.
The Brutal Poodle
Posted at 10:03 PM, May 20, 2024

DENVER — A Denver bar and restaurant that's been open for nearly seven years was burglarized early Monday morning, and thousands of dollars in cash was stolen.

Nestled along South Broadway, The Brutal Poodle is a heavy metal bar and punk rock-themed gastropub, adorned with paintings of edgy poodles and music memorabilia.

Not much surprises the welcoming employees. But Wes Moralez, a co-owner and the director of operations, was shocked when he entered the bar Monday morning.

“Last night at about 4 a.m., somebody broke into our establishment and robbed us," Moralez said. “It's a terrible thing to walk into and see that in your place of business because it's very violating from a safety aspect. And just to know that somebody was in here and not knowing what they're doing when you're not there.”

Moralez said the thieves first pried open the register, but no cash was inside of it. They then went into the back office and broke into the safe, according to Moralez.

“They seemed to know exactly where they were going. Went into the office, cleaned out the safe entirely," Moralez said. “A lot of the cash tips for the staff and the weekend are in there, our cash bank for the entire restaurants in there, along with tips that staff hadn't picked up and paychecks that staff hadn't picked up.”

Moralez estimated around $8,000 in cash was stolen. Along with the damages to the building, he believes it will cost the business closer to $10,000.

“Definitely a labor of love, and so that amount of cash is absolutely crippling to not see it again," Moralez said. “Even with being that busy and doing those numbers, generating over $2.2 million last year, our profit margins are still razor thin in 2024.”

Surveillance video shared with Denver7 shows two thieves — one who entered the bar and another who waited outside. Both wore masks.

Beloved Denver bar, restaurant burglarized early Monday morning; community rallies to support The Brutal Poodle
One of the thieves was caught inside The Brutal Poodle on surveillance video, according to Wes Moralez.

“Now I'm always going to be worried, you know, is that person going to be targeting this business? Because for what they took, it seems like it was something that was thought out," said Moralez. “Unfortunately, the footage that they got, [the suspects] were completely covered, wearing face masks, wearing gloves. [Police] weren't able to test for any prints.”

A good friend of The Brutal Poodle started a GoFundMe online fundraiser, which has raised more than $7,000 as of Monday evening.

"We are never the type of people to ask for any sort of help like that. We're usually the type of people that like to help the community and do fundraisers and stuff. But that GoFundMe has been absolutely insane," Moralez said. “Still stressful because there's certain precautions that we have to take, certain things we have to look out for, but it's definitely lightening the load... Definitely have to do something to repay all these awesome people, for sure.”

The Denver Police Department said it does not comment on active investigations but confirmed a burglary was reported at the address of The Brutal Poodle. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867.

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