A hooded Caucasian male wearing sunglasses pointed a single barrel shotgun at the head of Dollar Tree manager Precious Warren and demanded money from the register at around 8:50 p.m. the night of Wednesday, June 4.
“He was in and out in less than a minute,” she said, “We gave him everything in the register.”
Warren said the intruder approached her from part way down an aisle and asked for the money to be put into his backpack. Warren also noted that this has been the second robbery that the Dollar Tree has had since it opened two years ago.
Staff are now considering hiring security guards to be posted near the store’s location.
Last Wednesday’s gunpoint robbery occurred only minutes before the store’s normal closing time, when customers are less likely to be around to witness the attack.
Dollar Tree employees hope that having security guards around at all times would provide the added protection to ensure their safety during their work shifts.
“I sure hope so, I really do, ‘cause it’s dangerous,” Warren said about the possibility of having security guards.
Only three days would pass before a second business from within the same shopping district would be robbed.
On the night of Saturday, June 7, a black male described as being large and around 6’2”, accosted Papa Murphy’s employee McKayla Becerra from behind the counter while her back was turned.
Becerra, who just graduated high school and is currently a police explorer with the local Sheriff’s department, stayed calm and followed the intruder’s orders.
“He put his hand on my neck, I can still feel how strong he was,” Becerra told the Irrigator.
Becerra and another female employee were then told to go to the back room where the intruder demanded for a manager to open the safe. After he was told that no manager was present and that they did not know how to open the safe, the man asked Becerra to open the register, which she did.
The masked robber then ordered the two female employees to lie face down on the ground and told them to stay put while he made his escape out the front door and around the side of the building towards Sperry Avenue.
It was while Becerra was face down behind the counter that she tripped the store’s silent alarm. The police were there within minutes.
Becerra also said an officer, whom she’s become acquainted with through the Sheriff’s explorer program, called her on her mobile phone shortly after the alarm was triggered to be sure she was safe.
“I saw him and I felt relieved,” Becerra said of Sheriff W. Crane’s response.
The Papa Murphy’s robber was described as wearing a camouflaged mask, black gloves, blue jacket, and work boots.
This is also the second time Patterson’s Papa Murphy’s location was robbed, the last being only five months ago in January.
The employees are no longer taking any more chances. One employee now keeps a tazer and a large can of pepper spray with a long distance shooting range handy.
Repeated requests to the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s department regarding information about the robberies were not returned as of press time.
Elias Funez can be reached at 209-892-6187 or firstname.lastname@example.org.