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Davis, California

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Robbery victims held hostage, at gunpoint

A pair of armed robberies took Davis by surprise in the week leading up to Thanksgiving.

In the first incident, an eyewitness account reported an armed male in his 20s attempting to rob the owner of Nails Doorway on 407 G St. During closing time on Nov. 21, the suspect tried to persuade the victim to get in his car at gunpoint.

The victim escaped after refusing the gun-wielder’s demands and seeking refuge in a nearby store. His 20-year-old son and an accompanying 21 year-old male were left waiting in the store owner’s vehicle parked outside, according to a press release.

Arriving at the vehicle, the suspect pointed his gun at the passenger and coerced the driver into visiting several ATMs to make cash withdrawals, including the Union Bank machine in downtown Davis and another at the University Mall. The suspect threatened to kill the passenger if the driver disobeyed him.

The suspect then demanded the victims to drive to East Davis where he later left the vehicle and ran off with the stolen money toward the vicinity of Snyder and Haussler Drives.

Davis Police Department Lieutenant Tom Waltz said there have been no developments in the case since Nov. 21.

“It’s still under investigation,” Waltz said. “We do have a detective assigned to the case, and he’s still following up on a few leads.”

Aggie Liquor on 511 L St. was robbed in a separate incident on Nov. 24.

Of the two suspects involved, one was described as being a medium-height Caucasian male and the other a tall African-American male, both wearing hats. The handgun-brandishing duo ordered the two store clerks and single shopper inside to lie on the floor before transferring all the money in the cash register to a “lunch box.”

The suspects fled through the store’s back door and jumped over neighborhood fences into the Fifth and K Street area. There, an accomplice waited in a reported white sedan, a press release said.

Aggie Liquor’s store manager, who spoke on condition of anonymity, was in the back room training another employee when the robbery occurred. He confronted the suspects on their way out.

“I was coming from the back, and [one of the robbers] pointed the gun at me and said, ‘Don’t move,'” the manager said. “I didn’t feel like they were going to shoot me. They just came here for the money – that’s all.”

The manager said he would have assaulted the robbers with his large screwdriver if he had the chance.

Waltz said there had not been any new developments in the second armed robbery either.

No one sustained any injuries in either of the armed robberies.

Lt. Waltz said temporal proximity of the crimes was coincidental.

“Davis is like any other city,” he said. “There’s nothing special about it. We have the same type of crime as other cities. I guess to say if this is out of the ordinary, I would, based on my experience, say no.”

Waltz admitted that there was not enough information at this point in the investigation to isolate a trend in crime.

To some Davis residents and students, the armed robberies came as a major shock.

Sophomore political science major Davina Inga said she was beginning to have doubts about Davis’ safety.

“My mom doesn’t even like me riding my bike around, and I always tell her, ‘Mom, this is Davis – nothing bad ever happens here,'” Inga said. “It’s really shocking because it’s a family college town, it’s not a big city.”

Longtime Davis resident and Aggie Liquor customer Henry Timm noted the rarity of such crime in Davis and said the Aggie Liquor robbery caught him off guard.

“It came as a surprise. It’s almost a little family place here – I wouldn’t expect it,” Timm said.

Lt. Waltz offered a plan of action in case of an encounter with a robber.

“If you’re confronted by someone who’s robbing you, cooperate, pay attention to details, don’t panic and be prepared to provide police with a detailed description,” Waltz said.

YARA ELMJOUIE can be reached at city@theaggie.org.


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