Safe with rare coins, stones stolen in Southwest Fresno business robbery

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A Fresno man held at gunpoint as thieves got away with a safe, in an early morning robbery. (KFSN)

A Fresno man held at gunpoint as thieves got away with a safe, in an early morning robbery.

The robbery happened this morning at Valley Wrought Iron on Whitesbridge near Fruit. The owner says two men walked in, acting like customers, but then ordered him to the ground and left with a safe full of rare coins and stones.

Henry Mendez is in the business of keeping people safe. He makes security doors, he sells them -- and admits they have one weakness. "The weakness on them, you open them, and let them in."

That's exactly what he did Thursday morning. He says it started with a phone call, before business hours. "Somebody called and said they wanted to look at security gates," said Mendez.

About an hour later, he says two men showed up. One knocked on the door, pretending to be a customer. He let him in, and the other one followed, with a gun. "I saw a gun and I thought, okay, here it is."

Mendez says the men ordered him to the ground. They took his phone, ransacked the business and used a piece of steel to pry a safe out of a closet. It was bolted to the ground and filled with rare coins and stones worth a few thousand dollars -- things he took as payment for jobs but hadn't touched in years.

"They seemed like they knew what they were doing, they had inside information, and they knew, I guess that there was no one around," said Mendez.

Investigators are calling it an odd job, and the suspects, unusual. Mendez says the thieves appeared to be in their 40s. Both are black, between 5'6" and 5'8", with a medium build and they took off in a white 4 door car.

Lieutenant Joe Gomez says it would be easier to find them, if the business had surveillance cameras, but unfortunately, it doesn't. "It'll make it harder, so we're hoping the public will come forward if they recognize these suspects and that vehicle."
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