Apr 17, 2011 9:27 PM by Liza Sullivan

Robbers 'pistol whip' store clerk, get away with cash

Paso Robles police are scrambling to find the two men they say are responsible for a violent armed robbery.

The crime happened at 9:40 p.m. Saturday, at J & J Liquor. That's on the 3300 block of Spring Street.

Tom Lee, owner of J&J Liquor, played back the frightening robbery caught on surveillance cameras.

It shows two men entered the store, one armed with a shot gun, the other with a handgun, and demanded money.

Lee says at first he thought it was a joke, but after one of the robbers struck him in the head with a gun, he opened the register.

The men hopped over the counter and pocketed nearly 15 hundred dollars in cash, before running out the door.

Within minutes Paso Robles police arrived on scene, and launched an extensive 1.5 hour search, with some help from Atascadero Police K9s and a CHP helicopter.

Gilbert Ruiz caught all the action on his digital camera.

"I saw the police cars out front, and the helicopter was just humming around, but they brought the dogs out, and the dogs took off, I guess they got the scent," said Ruiz.

The suspects are described as White or Hispanic. One was wearing a dark-blue hooded sweatshirt, the other man wore a grey hooded sweatshirt. Both suspects covered their faces- one using a red bandana, the other using a ski mask.

Officers never found the suspects, but it's the fourth armed robbery in Paso Robles this month. On April 3 a Domino's Pizza was robbed at gun-point. Robbers struck the DK Donuts the following night. Both businesses are on Spring Street. On Thursday night, officers say four men robbed a group of people on Park Street.

If you have any information on any of these crimes you're asked to call the Paso Robles Police Department at (805) 237-6464. To leave an anonymous tip, call Crime Stoppers at (805) 549-STOP, or text SLOTIPS (274637).


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