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VALLEY ROUNDUP | Encino

Armed Robbers Hide in Video Store Heist

March 27, 2000|EDGAR SANDOVAL

Two robbers, one possibly as young as 12, held up a video store early Sunday after hiding in the restroom until just before closing time, and fled with about $3,500 in cash, police said.

The robbery occurred shortly before 1 a.m. at the Blockbuster Video store in the 17600 block of Ventura Boulevard.

After emerging from the restroom, one robber forced two employees into the men's restroom, where they were ordered to bind each other with duct tape, said LAPD West Valley Division Sgt. Bill Maarschalk.

It was not known when the assailants entered the store or hid, Maarschalk said.

The second assailant, armed with a handgun and wearing a ski mask, took the manager into the office and demanded the money in the store safe. The manager was bound with tape after handing over the money, Maarschalk said.

The robbers then fled with the cash. The employees were able to free themselves in about an hour and called police, Maarschalk said. None was injured.

The armed robber was described by the employees as a male African American in his 30s, about 5 feet 6 and between 140 and 160 pounds.

The second robber was described as a male African American between 12 and 15 years old, about 5 feet 5 and between 175 and 190 pounds. Each wore a black shirt and black pants, police said.

Hiding in a restroom before committing a robbery is "not something that happens frequently," Maarschalk said. The case remains under investigation.

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