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Armed robbers storm O.C. phone store

May 14, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A brazen robbery happened Thursday morning at an AT&T store on El Toro Road in Lake Forest. The suspects made off with several dozen iPhones.Investigators are reviewing surveillance video from inside the store to try and identify the two men responsible for the takeover robbery. They're calling the robbery brazen and well-planned.

"One pulled out a handgun, pointed at an employee, ordered that employee to lock the front door," said Jim Amormino, Orange County Sheriff's Dept. spokesman. "A second suspect came in with a duffel bag. He pulled out a shotgun, did crank one into the chamber, which means it's ready to shoot."

Authorities say the suspects ordered the male employee face down on the floor.

Investigators say the suspects stole 70 iPhones, valued about $50,000, as well as cash from the safe. The robbery happened before 9:30 a.m. along El Toro Road.

The getaway vehicle, a silver Ford Explorer, was later found just around the corner in a residential area. The vehicle was previously reported stolen from Irvine.

"It was facing the other way and when I came home at lunch it was facing that way," said Lake Forest resident Sherry Zimmerman.

A neighbor says she noticed it with no one inside less than two hours before the robbery, leading authorities to believe the suspects were practicing before the actual robbery.

"It was probably a couple dry runs to see how long it would take to drive from the store to the getaway car," said Amormino.

The first suspect who had the handgun is described as an African American male, 20 to 30 years old, 5 feet 10 inches tall, 170 pounds. He wore a mask, tan-colored pants and a SoCal Edison work shirt.

The second suspect wore the same work shirt and sunglasses. He carried a duffel bag to hide the shotgun. He's about the same age as the other suspect, 5 feet 7 inches tall, 160 pounds.

"Scary, scary," said Zimmerman. "I don't like that when it's my neighborhood."

The two employees inside were not physically injured.

If you have any information or you know who the suspects may be, call the Orange County Sheriff's Department at (866) TIP-OCSD.

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