GEARHART - When 87-year-old Kathryn "Katie" Smith went in to work Thursday morning, she had no idea she'd be staring down the barrel of a gun.

Smith is the owner of Captain Morgan's Restaurant and Lounge and was robbed at gunpoint by a lone male suspect. No shots were fired and she was not harmed.

"I looked up and just froze," she said. "He was all bundled up with mittens and a hat and he told me he was taking all my money."

Smith was working at her desk when the suspect walked in, reached across her desk and into her drawer. He took the money and "tore out the back door."

The robbery was over in about 30 seconds, but it felt longer to Smith.

Thanks to her sharp-eyed employees, Seaside Police Dispatch sent out a specific description of both the suspect and the get-away vehicle. The man was apprehended by Gearhart Police Chief Jeff Bowman only a few streets away. Later in the day, Bowman arrested a female suspect, whom Smith said had been sitting in the bar while the robbery took place.

Smith has owned the U.S. Highway 101 restaurant for 22 years and has lived in the area since the 1960s. She works seven days a week at the restaurant and was back at work the day after the robbery, a little shaken, but still smiling.

"I don't know anything else," she said. "I've been in the restaurant business since 1945."

Smith plans to close her restaurant March 31, "if not sooner," The property has been purchased by Randy Stemper, owner of the next-door Gearhart Builder's Supply and Astoria Builder's Supply.

He plans to demolish the restaurant and expand the supply store on to the property. Construction on the new 12,000-square-foot store should begin June 1. The new building will be similar to the newly constructed Astoria store.

In the meantime, Smith will continue to operate her restaurant and try to get things back to normal.

"I was in God's vest pocket and I plan to stay there for a while," she said.


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