Local News

Nov 20, 2009 11:41 PM by Ariel Wesler

Employees held hostage at local McDonald's

A frightening experience for three employees held hostage at a McDonald's in Lompoc... as two armed men rob the fast-food restaurant at gunpoint.

The incident happened just before 5am at the McDonald's on North "H" Street.

Lompoc Police have released surveillance video and are now asking for your help to catch the criminals.

This is surveillance video from an early morning armed robbery at McDonald's. Police say the suspects used a handgun to force three employees into the walk -in refrigerator and robbed the restaurant.

"That's so scary. that's horrific. This should not be happening," said Brenda Lee Montoya of Santa Maria.

"I was just horrified. I couldn't believe it," said Janet Poe of Lompoc.

The employees were told not to come out of the fridge. Twenty minutes later, they notified police.

"Two males came in and did a take over style robbery...when you actually are putting hands on employees and moving them around a location, it's a little more traumatic for the employees and more aggressive," said Sgt. Chuck Strange with the Lompoc Police Department.

While the robbers werer mostly covered, employees describe the suspects as two African American men --five foot five and five foot ten inches tall.

"I would hope that if someone knows these individuals, they'd be able to notice some type of mannerisms and point us in the right direction," Strange said.

Just down the street this Taco Bell was also robbed at gunpoint about a month ago.

This was so much like our robbery as far as the way they conducted it except there's was early morning and ours was late night," said Robert Coe, who's owned that Taco Bell for 42 years. "I suspect it's the same criminal element that feel that fast food restaurants are vulnerable."

The Director of Operations for Mcdonald's said his employees were pretty shaken up and are taking time to recover.

Lompoc police say the suspects could be charged with kidnapping and robbery. At this time, detectives are still investigating whether this incident is connected with last month's robbery at Taco Bell.

Anyone with information should contact the Lompoc Police Department.

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