Armed robbery at a Merced Dollar General Market

MERCED, Calif.

Merced police say this had to be a very scary experience for four employees who were in the store during the robbery. Investigators say one of them even had a gun pointed at her head. All four workers did manage to get away, but so did the suspects.

Customers returned to the Dollar General Market in south Merced just hours after a frightening armed robbery.

"Oh I was just shocked," Linda Velasquez said. "I was glad it wasn't this morning."

Merced police say two men wearing dark masks entered the store about 15 minutes before the midnight closing time and forced their way into the manager's office. The suspects then pushed a 51-year-old employee against the wall and put a gun to her head, while demanding cash that was out on the counter.

Investigators say when she told the robbers she didn't have access to more money, the men went after another employee. But he ran away and warned two other workers about the gunmen. All four managed to escape, and the suspects got away with an unknown amount of cash.

"There's no need to do that and to jeopardize people's lives," Velasquez said. "What if the gun would have accidentally gone off? Is it worth it? Is it worth a couple of bucks? No it's not."

This case is the latest in a recent string of similar crimes. Police say the city had 17 robberies from September 9th through October first, including one at a McDonalds on Motel Drive near Highway 99.

Lt. Tom Trinidad said, "I wouldn't consider it an epidemic, but it's definitely something of concern, and we are getting a lot more robberies."

Lieutenant Tom Trinidad says the department is now trying to focus its limited resources in areas being hit the most.

Lt. Trinidad said, "We look for areas where we seem to have a pattern developing and we'll give extra patrols and officers are more mindful of officers walking around, and if they appear to be suspicious then they're going to get out of their patrol cars and speak with them and hopefully they can gather some information that leads to an arrest."

Police are also asking for your help. They say tips from the public have led to arrests in two recent cases, and they're hoping someone will come forward with information that can help them solve this robbery as well.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.