A masked gunman handcuffed an assistant manager to a rooftop light pole and fled with an undetermined amount of cash from an Athens area K mart on Monday, sheriff's deputies said.
At first, deputies believed the gunman was holding seven employees hostage inside the department store at Western Avenue and Imperial Highway. But it turned out that the workers had stayed inside the store about five hours because the gunman had ordered them not to move. They finally left the store when deputies led them out the front door.
The 72,000-square-foot store was searched, but the gunman was not found.
The assistant manager was rescued by deputies who landed a helicopter on the roof. He told deputies the gunman forced him to open the safe in the store's office sometime before 7 a.m. and then led him to the roof while carrying two or three bags of cash.