The crooks are at it again!

Nick's Bar & Grill in Cedar Rapids was robbed on Thursday morning. I'm told by an employee that the thieves entered by breaking through the back door. The incident happened around 5:25 a.m.

Once inside, the bandits went right to the ticket machines. Both were destroyed and they took every dollar from each machine. They also stole the bar tabletop machine. I don't have an exact figure, but it sounds like several thousand dollars were stolen from each device.

Photo: Lizz Burgess Smith

The security alarm went off, but the villains were quick and got out before police arrived. Now the staff at Nick's are stuck repairing the back door as well as replacing two ticket machines.

I'm told the criminals also broke into a car that was in the parking lot next to the bar. They trashed the vehicle and ripped out the stereo and subs. The culprits must have been wearing gloves because police were unable to find any fingerprints. They did find dirty footprints throughout the bar. Police are investigating the incident and no further information is available at this time.

Nick's is a neighborhood bar located at 4958 Johnson Avenue NW. I've known the owners of the bar for a long time. They're great people and run a good business. They didn't need this. It's hard enough to run a bar in this town and something like this just makes it harder.

Even with insurance, this will cost Nick's money out of their pocket. I sure hope they find the people that are responsible for this crime. It's not right and I hate hearing stories like this....especially during the holiday season.

Lizz Burgess Smith, manager of Nick's, said "I'm just grateful none of the employees were here and nobody got hurt." She was also humbled by the support from the other bars in the area. Smith said, "I'm going to tell you what I love about the bar tending community...they call and check on you. I got four phone calls from different bars yesterday and several bartenders I know messaged me to make sure we were okay. If you ask me, that's pretty awesome."

IT IS awesome and that's what I love about Cedar Rapids and living here in Eastern Iowa. We're a big family and people support each other. Again, thankfully nobody was hurt. Best of luck to the gang at Nick's, I hope you come back even stronger after this setback. And if I know you guys like I think I do, that should be no problem.

If you have any information that could lead to an arrest, please contact the Cedar Rapids Police at 319-286-5491.

Photo: Lizz Burgess Smith