Police search the people responsible for an armed robbery at a downtown Long Beach Verizon store late Thursday. Hetty Chang reports from Long Beach for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 20, 2014.
Long Beach detectives are searching for two armed robbers who tied up two cellphone store employees and got away with thousands of dollars in cellphones and accessories.
The robbery happened before 8 p.m. Jan 16, just before Manuel Sandoval, the store manager, was getting ready to close the Go Wireless Verizon store on the 4400 block of Atlantic Avenue.
"I was getting ready to do inventory and he came in and inquired about iPhones," Sandoval said of one of the robbers, who he thought was a last minute customer.
But then another man walked in -- someone who had been in the store earlier that day, Sandoval said.
"So when I seen him again, that's when I was like, 'Oh man, something's not right,' and that's when he showed me the gun," Sandoval said.
The robbers then tied up Sandoval's hands and those of his female colleague, using duct tape before both were led into a back room to wait.
Sandoval said he was concerned for his colleague's safety.
"I told her to barricade herself in the bathroom while I went ahead to check and see if they were gone," he said.
The robbers were gone along with the stolen goods. Shoppers in the Bixby Knolls shopping center said they were shocked to learn of such a bold armed robbery at their neighborhood strip mall.
"For me, I do go into the store and I buy accessories," said Renee Stagg, who lives in Long Beach. "So to hear that it was so close to Marshall's where I frequent, Starbucks, where I frequent. It makes you a little uncomfortable."
Detectives were looking through surveillance video Monday.