A restaurateur is offering a hefty reward after a shipping container filled with $200,000 worth of items for a new eatery was stolen from a warehouse in Miami over the weekend.
Kevin Aoki, the CEO of AOKI Group Restaurant Management and founder of Doraku Sushi, told NBC 6 the shipping container was stolen from his warehouse at 2081 NW 7th Ave. at about 11:55 p.m. Saturday.
“I can't tell you the feeling that I have that when that happened,” Aoki said.
Aoki says the shipping container was packed with restaurant equipment, motorcycles, and Japanese relics, carrying a combined value of more than $200,000.
“We're opening a new restaurant and we have all the back-to-the-house items like restaurant supplies, equipment, all the stainless steel tables,” he said.
Aoki says the shipping container was bound for Hawaii, where he is opening a new restaurant.
“The most important thing that I have in there is all the decorative items,” he said. “… Yesterday, my office manager came into the office and she calls me up, she's like, the container's missing.”
They then called the trucking company, and the company knew nothing about the shipping container being picked up.
They searched surveillance video and saw what looks like a red semi-truck pulling up to the container, and driving away with it moments later.
The cameras also caught a glimpse of a possible suspect.
“Called the police immediately and rallied my neighbors together because they have video footage as well outside that area,” he said.
Aoki’s brother is Grammy-nominated DJ Steve Aoki. Their father was Rocky Aoki, founder of Benihana, the Japanese steakhouse chain.
Kevin is now following in the footsteps of his father, who died in 2008. He owns restaurants in Miami, Las Vegas and Hawaii.
“All the decorative items in the restaurant are items that my father has given me. Things like stone artifacts, statues, things that we've collected along our journey through Japan,” he said.
He spent days packing the container for the new biker-themed Japanese restaurant in Hawaii.
“My thought was to build like a Japanese biker bar, you know, themed restaurant where I have Japanese bikes, bike parts and old Japanese relics, things that my dad gave me, old sake barrels that I could put on the wall. Those are all gone,” he said.
Aoki is now offering a $25,000 dollar reward for information that can reunite the goods inside the container.
He says the award offer even stands for the person responsible.
“I lost my dad, and I wish I can keep some items that my father has given me,” he said.