'Party crashers' sought after allegedly causing $200k in damage at restaurant

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WDAF) -- The driver of a car trying to escape a locked gate at Ponak's did up to $200,000 in damages to the popular Mexican restaurant on the Boulevard.

The crash happened July 1st, but Monday Kansas City Police released photos of the suspected "party" crashers.

When the two women returned to their car parked at Ponak's, they found a locked gate. So they hatched an escape plan that may have involved trying to gun it over the railroad tracks behind the restaurant. Instead they ended up backing into the Mexican restaurant's kitchen.

"The damage is more extensive than we imagined. We thought it would be $30,000 to $40,000 and it's turned out being a high estimate of up to $200,000 to $220,000 to fix this wall," Ponak's General Manager John Greer said.

See photos of the women:

‘Party crashers’ sought after causing $200k damage
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‘Party crashers’ sought after causing $200k damage

"I think it's bad you hit a building and then you just run away and not own up to it, especially because it's a business and people depend on this for their livelihood," Emily Tipton, a Ponak's customer, said.

After hearing what happened customers scoured through hundreds of online photos from an event that was going on nearby that night to see if they could find a match to surveillance photos police released last week of the women in the Ponak's parking lot.

They sent police a picture of two women who seemed to match the women on surveillance.

"I'm glad that I have a pretty loyal following and people that do care," Greer said. "We've been here over 42 years and we are one of the mainstays on the Boulevard, so it makes me feel good and hopefully something will come out of this, someone will recognize these two people on here."

Greer says video shows their car was also badly damaged in the rear-end collision. The whole ordeal left customers to wonder when they found their car locked behind the gate, why they didn't just call for a ride?

"That would be a much more advisable method than the alternative that they took," Tom Stahl said.

Ponak's is open for business now, and management hopes they'll be able to stay open during the repairs. Greer says they will have to wait on more reports from structural engineers and insurance adjusters.

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