An attempted armed robbery of the Charley Brown's restaurant in Thousand Oaks was thwarted early Saturday morning by two quick-thinking employees, Ventura County Sheriff's Department officials said.
Shortly after midnight, Ignacio Terrazas, a cook at Charley Brown's, was approached by an armed man while walking to his car after the restaurant closed, sheriff's officials said.
The man directed the 29-year-old cook at gunpoint to the front of the restaurant where they were joined by two other men. The three suspects held the cook until restaurant Manager William Sharrow unlocked the front door to let Emelio Quintero, a 17-year-old dishwasher from Moorpark, leave.
Sharrow, 32 of Burbank, saw the cook standing by the front door with one of the suspects pointing a handgun at him. The man told Sharrow not to move, officials said, but he darted back into the restaurant, locked himself in the office and called 911.
Quintero also ran back inside and set off the motion detector, which sounded an audible alarm that scared the suspects away, officials said. The men fled on foot, leaving the unharmed cook in front of the restaurant.
About 15 deputies responded to Sharrow's report of a hostage situation, including two with police dogs. A perimeter was set up around the restaurant but officers were unable to locate the suspects. The investigation is continuing.
Officer Terry Hughes said the employees' decision was risky.
"You never know if it's smart or stupid until after it's done," Hughes said. In this case, he said, "what they did was smart."