15 Employees Held at Gunpoint in 30-Minute Robbery

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Three bandits held about 15 employees of the Home Depot store in Huntington Beach at gunpoint early Tuesday before escaping with an undisclosed amount of cash and other valuables, authorities said.

Police said the robbery was similar to several others that have been occurring in Los Angeles County since March.

Lt. Gary Davis said the incident began about 6:10 a.m. as employees were arriving to work at the store in the 6900 block of Edinger Avenue. Brandishing handguns, the three bandits burst into the store and ordered about 15 employees to move to an area near the rear of the store.

Davis said the robbers later forced the store's managers to open a safe that contained cash, credit-card receipts and checks. The store is a warehouse-type hardware store.

After grabbing the loot, the bandits ordered employees into a restroom where they remained until their assailants fled. The entire incident lasted about 30 minutes, Davis said.

Eyewitnesses describe the three male suspects as being between the ages of 25 and 35.

"They were all about average height and weight," Davis said, adding that one suspect wore a ski mask.

Davis said the store's management was trying to determine the amount of the cash and checks taken by the robbers.

Store officials declined to comment on the incident.

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