The cashier at Congee Wong Restaurant carefully eyes every person who walks in.

The Richmond Hill business, squished into a strip plaza just off Highway 7, was robbed in October. In November, the bandits came back for seconds.

In both incidents, three men rushed into the restaurant, their faces covered with bandanas. Threatening staff and the diners with guns and knives, the thieves snatched the cash from the register before running off.

Police say a group of thieves is behind seven similar robberies in Markham and Richmond Hill since August, and a handful more in northern Scarborough.

Most of the targeted eateries have signs attached to their windows advertising that they’re “cash only.”

“It’s an invitation to robbers,” said York Region Police Chief Armand La Barge. “If somebody asks the question to a bank robber, ‘Why do you rob banks?’ He says, ‘That’s where the money is.’ (These restaurants) is where the cash is.”