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Man barricaded in Verizon store robbed pharmacy, witness says

November 29, 2013|By Hailey Branson-Potts
  • A Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy outside a shopping center where a suspect has barricaded himself in a Verizon store.
A Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy outside a shopping center where… (Rachel Belofsky / For The…)

An armed man who barricaded himself in a La Crescenta Verizon store Friday afternoon first robbed a Rite Aid in the same shopping center, one shopper told The Times.

Rachel Belofsky of Sunland and her mother had stopped at the Rite Aid to pick up a few items in what they thought would be a quick trip.

When they walked in, Belofsky heard staff calling the police. She went to the pharmacy and said the "pharmacist was shaking" and told her "the guy robbed them for drugs" and ran out of the store.

The standoff began when the suspect barricaded himself in the Verizon store, a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman said.

There were no hostages in the standoff at the Marketplace Shopping Center in the 2600 block of Foothill Boulevard, said the spokeswoman at the Crescenta Valley sheriff's station. Crisis negotiators were trying to peacefully resolve the incident, according the sheriff's station's Twitter feed.

The man was armed and had threatened to kill himself, KTLA-TV Channel 5 reported. The shopping center was evacuated.

The Rite Aid manager locked customers in the store until a police officer "banged on the window" to let them know they could come out, said Belofsky, who runs the Screamfest Horror Film Festival. The customers were led to a parking lot and told to stay there, she said. Police were putting up crime scene tape around the area, Belofsky said.

Belofsky said she and other customers were asked to leave their vehicles in the parking lot overnight. She was thankful, she said, that the man did not take hostages.


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