Two victims in a series of armed robberies overnight describe being so scared that they froze and struggled to give the suspects what they wanted. This wasn’t the first time they had been robbed at gunpoint.
Fred Young was working at the Arco station on Massachusetts Avenue in La Mesa at around 11:40 p.m. Wednesday when he walked outside to make a phone call. He saw two men walking towards him. They were crouched down low and wearing masks.
“I just froze because in my mind I’m like, ah man. I know I’m going to get robbed,” said Young.
He was right.
The men demanded he hand over the money.
“I tried to give them the money. I couldn’t even open the register. I know how to open a register, but I couldn’t even open the register. I was nervous,” said Young.
“I’m like ‘hey, I’m going to come help you’,” said Perez.
But Young shook his head, as if to say ‘no.’
“That’s when the other dude popped up underneath the register,” said Perez. “I just froze. I couldn’t move. My body was just paralyzed.”
Young says he finally managed to open the register, which the armed robber took.
“He grabbed the whole thing, not the money,” said Young.
The suspects then fled.
“We were both trying to call 911, but we were shaking,” said Perez.
Young says this isn’t the first time they have been robbed at gunpoint.
“Last time they came to rob us, I hit them, they took some cigarettes, we called the cops, they found them,” said Perez.
“This happened to me at 7-11 before a couple of years ago,” said Young. “One time is shame on them. Two times is shame on me. It can’t happen a third time.”
He says his family is concerned for his safety.
“These are the only places that are hiring,” said Young.
Police believe the two suspects may be responsible for robbing three other businesses across the county in the span of a few hours.
In Chula Vista, a suspect demanded cash from the Vagabond Inn clerk at gunpoint. A worker says the robber forced the clerk to put money in a bag and then sit in a bathroom while he ran away.
A Motel 6 in La Mesa was also hit. The clerk told police that the two men had semi-automatic handguns pointing at him while he handed over all of the money from the cash register.
One of the suspects is described as black, 20-25 years old, 6 feet 2 inches tall, weighing 215 pounds, wearing a dark grey sweatshirt and grey pants. The suspect was also wearing a dark-colored nylon mask and was armed with a black revolver, police said.
The other suspect is described as black or Hispanic, 25-30 years old, 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighing 160-180 pounds, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, black pants and a black baseball cap with a red design on it. He was armed with a black semi-automatic handgun.
If you have any information on this case, please call the La Mesa Police Department at (619) 667-1400.