by: Greg Suskin Updated:
LAKE WYLIE, S.C. - Mark Cieslikowski doesn't scare easily, but he still can't believe how fast a man in a hoodie snuck up behind him late Thursday night.
"It was that fast, within two seconds, or less," he said.
The man appeared out of nowhere outside the Q2U BBQ Pit on Highway 49 in Lake Wylie. Cieslikowski had just opened the door to his pickup truck to put a bag inside, when he felt something behind him.
"Just out of nowhere this guy jumps in the truck, between me and the seat, grabs the bag and takes off," he said.
Two of his cooks chased after the robber as he ran through the parking lot behind the restaurant and down toward a bowling alley next door.
As they ran off, Cieslikowski heard gunfire.
"The first thing I thought was ‘Did someone get shot?’" he said.
Fortunately, none of his staff of Q2U was hurt, but York County Sheriff's deputies found four shell casings from a .380 pistol behind the bowling alley.
The robber made off with the owner's iPhone, iPad and some checks, but not the deposit bag for the restaurant.
Cieslikowski told Channel 9 that last year he started parking his truck in the well-lit area in front of his restaurant because of his wife's safety concerns.
He also he leaves every night with his employees by his side, but Thursday night, none of that mattered.
"The scary thing was he knew we were coming out, and it's almost like he planned it and timed it," he said.
On Friday, someone discovered his iPhone at a bus stop at South Tryon Street and Carowinds Boulevard in Charlotte.
Deputies said there were no suspects yet as of late Friday. No one at the restaurant got a good look at the suspect. They said he wore all black, including a black hoodie, tied close to his face, and appeared to have a football-type mouth guard in his mouth.
Cieslikowski opened Q2U with a friend in 2009, because they both liked to cook. He always thought the Lake Wylie area was safe.
"Well, you always think this is going to happen to the other guy, not you," he said. "They say people can't find jobs, but I can never find enough people to work. They don't need to rob us, I’ll gladly give 'em a job."