Restaurant surveillance camera images of three, masked and armed individuals robbing one of three businesses in the north area of Sacramento, Feb. 19, 2013
SACRAMENTO, CA - Employees feel lucky to be alive after a group of armed robbers smacked victims across the head and ordered them around at gunpoint.
The string of robberies began Tuesday night at the Lucky Express Chinese Restaurant on Willow Street, and within about an hour, three businesses were describing a similar experience to police.
"Three guys walked in, and they covered their face," a Lucky Express employee who didn't want to identify herself said.
"One guy outside the cash register hit the waitress, the lady's head, and two of them went to the kitchen and hit another waitress's head and ask, 'money, money, money,'" the employee added.
Within the hour, police said in what appeared to be a related incident, three armed suspects robbed a liquor store on Northgate Boulevard about five miles away from Lucky Express.
The owner said the thieves were in and out in about five minutes. That's about the same amount of time Karnial Gidha said it took three men to rob him at his pizza restaurant just up the road a few minutes later.
"He said, 'open the cash register, open the cash register,'" Gidha said. "Then I look at one guy standing over there with a gun. Other one is over there, and third one, we don't see it. I see later on."
Gidha cooperated with the men while one robber held a gun to his head; another robber tried to hit him with a fire extinguisher.
"I'm just scared, so then I said, 'Money, take the money. I don't care. Money is not more than the life,'" Gidha said.
Police reviewed surveillance footage, including video shot on the 16-camera security system at Lucky Express, which for now remains closed.
Some of the employees at Lucky Express were still shaken up by the robbery, but the restaurant was set to reopen Thursday.