Police have released surveillance photos of the man they say was armed with a gun when he robbed Check into Cash in Morro Bay Wednesday evening and tied up the clerk.
Police say reports of the robbery came in at around 5:41 p.m. at 10655 Kennedy Way.
According to police, the man, armed with a silver or nickel-plated small handgun, ordered the clerk to open the safe.
He then reportedly tied her up and locked her inside the restroom after "unsuccessful attempts to open the safe," but never threatened to harm her, police say.
"It is on occasion where suspects tie up their victims in attempt to give them more time to escape from the property before they call police which I think in this particular instance he was trying to accomplish," said Commander Amy Watkins of the Morro Bay Police Department.
The clerk told police she was able to get free from the duct tape after about 10 minutes and call 911.
Customers who know the clerk say the employees are like family.
"I feel horrible because she has a husband she has kids, and to be here alone like that, it's terrifying," said Lisa Bos, a Check Into Cash customer.
Police say the man got away with about $2,000 from a register and was in the business for three to four minutes.
He is described as wearing oversized dark or navy blue coveralls that had a white emblem on the upper left arm and a light blue emblem that may be reflective on the back. They say his shoes were black with laces and white soles and he was reportedly wearing a dark blue boonie hat with a black band and dark green balaclava type headgear underneath. His backpack was described as being yellow and dark gray or black with white or light-colored vertical lettering on the back.
Morro Bay Police say the investigation is ongoing and they are still reviewing security footage.
This is the second time this location has been robbed since December of last year, police say.
Anyone with information that could help investigators is asked to call the Morro Bay Police Department at (805) 772-6233 or (805) 772-6237.