Restaurant and bar near U of M robbed at gunpoint for second time

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Police are looking for two men who robbed a popular restaurant and bar near the University of Memphis at gunpoint early Sunday morning.

It’s the second time Ubee’s on South Highland Street has been hit in a little over a year, and several other businesses on the busy Highland Strip have also been targeted.

The area near U of M is beloved – especially by college students – thanks in part to all the restaurants, many of which stay open all night.

"It’s great food, great people," said U of M student Hunter Zehntner, who lives right across the street.

But around 4:30 a.m. Sunday – an hour and a half after closing for the night – one of those spots became a crime scene when two men in ski masks robbed Ubee’s at gunpoint.

"You know, it’s the Highland strip, so things happen," Zehntner said. "Like I mean, some robberies, some kidnappings have happened here recently that I know about."

In January, police say four teens kidnapped a man outside the bar Newby’s, forced him into a car, made him withdraw money from an ATM and even drove him to his own house, which they ransacked.

Earlier this month, a group of international students were robbed on the strip at gunpoint and one was knocked unconscious.

And last year, CK Coffee Shop, next to Ubee’s, was robbed three times.

And it’s not the first time Ubee’s has been targeted, either.

Just last year, the popular restaurant and bar was hit in an eerily similar fashion, when two masked men came in through an unlocked back door about an hour after closing time, tied up four employees and robbed the business at gunpoint.

"That’s egregious and it’s preposterous that they would not enhance security," said Germantown resident Derek Hummel. "I thought the whole purpose of this was to renovate it to make it more like aesthetically pleasing to kind of, I don’t know I wouldn’t say gentrify, but at least reduce the appeal to crime. But it doesn’t seem like that’s really what’s going on."

No one was hurt in Sunday morning’s robbery, but police might have a hard time tracking down the criminals because they were covered from head to toe, wearing hoodies, jeans and even gloves.

"It doesn’t make me want to stop going there, but it does kind of make you realize it can happen anywhere," Zehntner said.

Many businesses along the Highland Strip have security guards and cameras, but that doesn’t seem to be deterring crime.

Police say the suspects in this latest case got away in a white, four-door car, possibly a Chevrolet, but investigators don’t know the model.

If you know anything, call Crime Stoppers at (901) 528-CASH.

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