Six armed men wearing costumes and masks robbed the cashier of the Valero station on Ygnacio Valley Road at 3:27 a.m. Wednesday. At the end of the robbery in the convenience store, one suspect coming out the door fired a weapon at a customer pumping gas and apparently missed.
The customer who was shot at near pump No. 9 left the scene at Ygnacio Valley and North Broadway and was located uninjured a short time later, Walnut Creek police reported in a news alert.
The MO and appearance of the robbery team were similar to an armed robbery at a 7-Eleven on Morello Avenue in Pleasant Hill the night before at 2:48 a.m., police said. That group fled without taking anything after the clerk dashed into the bathroom and locked the door.
The Walnut Creek gang fled to a dark-colored Volkswagen parked in the adjacent Department of Motor Vehicles lot on North Broadway and drove off westbound on Ygnacio Valley Road (i.e., toward the I-680 freeway entrance), police said.
They pointed a gun at the cashier and stole cash and various items from the Valero convenience store. The six subjects were wearing masks and/or hoods and were armed with handguns and long guns, police said.
Police recovered a shell casing at the gas station, but they are not divulging the caliber publicly and did not find a bullet hole, Sgt. Tom Cashion said.
Cashion said Wednesday afternoon that police were following up on leads. They are working with Pleasant Hill and Antioch police departments on similar incidents and are trying to confirm links to other robberies in the east county, he said.
It's the first time there has been a robbery at the Valero, said Manager Jim McCracken, who has worked there 20 years. He was not an eyewitness but did see security camera video.
The cashier, who was working alone at the time, is shaken up from the incident, McCracken said.
The robbers were wearing gloves and Halloween costumes, including one in a gorilla suit, McCracken said. They carried a canvas bag for stolen items.
"They took some 7Up, a two liter," said McCracken. "Thank God the employee wasn't hurt ... He helped a customer, grabbed a paper towel and, the next thing he knew, they were on him."
The robbers took some cash from the register and the cashier's cell phone, but they didn't take his laptop computer, McCracken said.
McCracken checked the area around pump No. 9, where the customer was standing, and the parking area for the car wash behind and couldn't locate a bullet hole or mark.