A former employee of Leonardo’s 706, dressed in all black and armed with a 12-inch knife, was arrested on the business’ roof early Monday trying to break in, Gainesville police said.
Joshua Demitri Diaz-Suarez, 34, was trying to hammer through a piece of plywood on the roof to enter Leonardo’s 706, located at 706 W University Ave., when a woman who lives nearby woke up to the sound and called police at about 2 a.m., according to an arrest report. Diaz-Suarez was still trying to get in the restaurant when police arrived at the scene, Officer Ben Tobias, a GPD spokesperson, wrote in an email.
Police turned on emergency lights and called to him over a loudspeaker in an effort to get him off the roof, but Diaz-Suarez refused to show himself, GPD said.
Police on the scene called Gainesville Fire Rescue, and officers used a firetruck’s ladder to get on the roof, Tobias said.
When he saw police on the roof, Diaz-Suarez threw the knife down and hid next to a large air conditioning unit, according to the report. Police said they found an empty backpack, screwdriver, hammer and a crowbar wedged into the plywood on the roof.
Diaz-Suarez told police he wanted to get inside the restaurant through a hole in the roof so management could find him the next morning and “see what they did to (him),” according to the report.
He told police he had worked at the business for 10 years, and it was his “safe place,” police said. He said he didn’t know what he was going to do once he gained entry but regretted bringing the knife, according to the report.
Tobias said Diaz-Suarez was fired recently but didn’t know the date of his termination.
Mark Newman, one of the restaurant’s owners, said Diaz-Suarez was fired last week. Newman said Diaz-Suarez did not work for the restaurant for 10 consecutive years but was hired back after leaving the company for a number of years.
“It’s a real tragedy, that’s what it is,” Newman said.
Diaz-Suarez was charged with possession of burglary tools, attempted armed burglary and resisting officers without violence. He was taken to Alachua County Jail where he remains, as of press time, in lieu of a $35,000 bond.