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Robber tries to stick up cop at ATM

November 3, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
A search is on for a would-be robber who chose the wrong target in Westminster Tuesday morning. The armed man demanded money from an off-duty police officer at an ATM on the 14000 block of Beach Boulevard. The officer opened fire. Police are now looking at surveillance tape trying to identify the suspect.A bloodhound tracked the suspect's scent through an alley in Westminster, not far from the bank ATM where he tried to rob an off-duty police officer.

"He was in the process of getting money out of the ATM," said Westminster Police Officer Cameron Knauerhaze. "A lone suspect approached him and presented a handgun and demanded his cash. The off-duty officer engaged the suspect in a gun battle."

Police say the off-duty officer then fired up to six shots at the suspect. It's not clear if any hit him.

Police say the suspect took off running from the bank down an alley. Authorities found a gun about a block away in the alley. They believe it belongs to the suspect.

The off-duty cop, who was not injured in the shoot-out, then called 911. Police arrived to find a stolen car with its engine running parked in the bank parking lot. Police believe the suspect had planned to use it as a getaway car until the off-duty officer caught him off guard.

Investigators started carefully searching the neighborhood.

"The police headed into my back yard and parking lot, and the SWAT was out," said Westminster resident Rudy Bayme.

The shooting happened just before 7 a.m. As a precaution, Webber Elementary School, less than a mile away, was placed on lockdown as police searched for the suspect.

"A male Hispanic, 25 to 30 years old," said Knauerhaze, describing the suspect. "He was wearing a dark-colored 'hoody' sweatshirt and blue jeans. He's described as having a mustache and short-cropped, unkempt hair."

If you have information on this suspect, call Westminster police at (714) 898-3315, ext. 421.