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Cafe Owner Stashed Life Savings At Home; Thieves Make Off With All of It

She came here for a better life. Burglars took her life savings.

Phoung Cafe in St. Paul
Alex Lodner

Phuong Dinh came to Minnesota from her native Vietnam and opened Phuong Cafe, a Vietnamese restaurant on University Avenue in St. Paul, where she still works long hours, saving toward retirement.

The 57 year old had hoped to retire soon, but on Saturday, that dream was shattered when daughter Patricia Dinh found the home they shared in the North End had been ransacked and burglarized. Phuong Dinh did not trust banks and had kept her life savings, including gold bars and $60,000 in cash, hidden in her bedroom.

“She’s devastated,” Patricia Dinh told Pioneer Press. “She worked so hard for it and we never thought anyone would steal it from her.”

“Nobody knew how much she had, including me,” Patricia Dinh said. The criminals also took a precious gift from daughter to mother, a diamond ring worth thousands. “She worked very hard, but never bought anything nice for herself,” the younger Dinh said.

The two are holding out hope that their property will be found, unsure of their next steps. Retirement is looking farther away today.

Police are asking anyone with information to call 651-266-5771.