Restaurant owner says employee stole $60,000 worth of jewels

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A Midtown restaurant owner is relying on police to locate a valuable bag containing cash, blank checks and $60,000 worth of jewels.

Quoc Tuan Vo works at least 17 hours a day at his Vietnamese restaurant Phuong Long. So he thinks it's safer to keep his valuables with him rather than leave them at home nearly 20 miles away.

“When I’m busy in the kitchen, I put my handbag over here,” he said, pointing to behind the sushi counter at his Cleveland Street restaurant.

When he left Monday for about five minutes to pick up his daughter at school nearby, he forgot to bring the bag with him.

When he got back, it was gone.

Surveillance video showed an employee putting his bag in to another plastic bag and then taking it. The employee also took cash from the register on his way out, Vo said.

Inside, the bag had blank checks, cash and jewelry, he said.

In fact, he reported to police the employee got away with about $60,000 worth of jewelry including diamond earrings, rubies, emeralds and watches.

Vo said he's been saving money and buying jewels in order to open his own jewelry store eventually.

Leo Veasley is another employee who was working when it happened.

"It’s surprising. It’s shocking. We thought he was trustworthy," Veasley said.

An incident report named the co-worker as a suspect, but police haven't charged him.

At his listed address, a friend said he hadn't seen the man in about five days.

Employees and loyal customers like Zach Webb say they’re hurting for a man who works hard and has ambitions to do even more.

“He’ll give you anything you ask for. You don’t have to take nothing from him," Veasley said.

"It’s terrible. He’s such a nice guy," Webb said.

Vo said he just hopes police find the thief and the missing jewels.