Merced police asking for help in robbery case

FRESNO, Calif.

The crime happened just before midnight at the McDonalds on Motel Drive near Carol Avenue.

Merced police are asking for the public's help solving the latest robbery. Officers say the suspect in this case was extremely aggressive, and it's fortunate no one was hurt.

Five employees at the Merced McDonalds survived a terrifying robbery late Tuesday night. Investigators say a man walked in and pointed a gun at the back of a 19-year-old worker's head, before forcing her and the others into an office.

"He was very aggressive with the employees, demanding each of the employees to get on their knees as he made his demands for the money to be removed from the safe," Lt. Bimley West of the Merced Police Department said.

Lt. West says the robber made the employees fill a bag with cash before running away. One worker told us off camera no customers were in the restaurant at the time, but some did try to use the drive through, unaware of what was happening inside. One resident who frequents this McDonalds says she wasn't surprised to hear about the crime.

"Merced has just gotten to the point of people have to be so careful and not go out at night, and I feel sorry for the employees at these different places that have to put up with all of these people who want something for nothing," Terri Stefani of Merced said.

The case is the latest in a recent string of armed robberies. Just last week two men held up a 7-11 and late last month two suspects hit a downtown market.

Police say by the end of July, the city had 48 armed robberies, up 66 percent from the same time last year.

"It's very difficult to say exactly what one particular thing is sparking all of these different robberies within our city, other than it could easily be just greed and opportunity," Lt. West said.

Merced police are now reviewing surveillance video to try to identify the suspect in the McDonalds robbery, but say he was wearing a scarf over his face, which could make their job more difficult.

Detectives are looking into whether any of the city's recent robberies may be related.

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