Police: Gunmen Tie Up Columbia Dry Cleaning Employees, Steal Cash
The armed robbery happened as the business was closing, police said.
Two employees of Zips Dry Cleaning in Town Center were tied up and held at gunpoint by two armed robbers inside the business around 8 p.m. on Friday, according to police.
The employees were not injured, but shaken up, according to the evening manager Kevin Kim.
"I was just thinking about how to stay safe," said Kim on Tuesday.
Just before the robbery on Friday, Kim said he was taking trash out of the rear door to the dumpster when he was confronted by an armed masked man who was waiting for him at the door. Kim said the men had entered through the back door.
Police said another employee was already tied up with zip-ties inside the business, when Kim was brought to the back and also tied up.
The two suspects stole wallets from the employees and two cash boxes from the office, according to police. The incident led to the other employee quitting the job, according to Kim.
Kim said he felt lucky.
"They could have used live weapons," said Kim.
He said it was the first robbery or burglary at the Zips in his one-and-a-half years working at the dry cleaners. In response to the robbery, Zips added more security and instituted new policies to improve safety, said Kim.
Police reported one of the victims' wallets was recovered near Broken Land Parkway and Snowden River Parkway by a citizen.
Police provided the following description of the suspects:
- Suspect 1: Black male, 5'10" to 6', heavy build, wearing a black ski mask with dreadlocks showing and a bright orange jacket
- Suspect 2: Black male, 5'4" to 5'6", thin build, wearing a black ski mask with a black jacket
The robbery occurred about a day and a half before a Taco Bell manager was critically injured in a shooting at the Taco Bell just off of Snowden River Parkway at about 1 a.m. on Sunday.
In that incident, police said two men wearing ski masks were hiding behind a dumpster when two employees came out to investigate a suspicious man in the parking lot.
One of the masked suspects shot the manager multiple times in the torso, police said. Police are still investigating both incidents.
A police spokesperson said detectives always look into similarities in crimes to determine if they are related, but at this time "there is nothing directly linking the two."