The video shows a masked suspect followed by his accomplice, who removes a shotgun from a case, racks a round into the chamber, then points it at a customer and a worker inside a smoke shop in Santa Ana at about 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 23.
"They took their time. They were slow and methodical about what they were doing, like they knew what they were doing," said Santa Ana Police Corp. Anthony Bertagna.
The suspects order the victims face down on the floor, restrain their hands with zip-ties, then they fill their bag with money from the cash register. After three terrifying minutes the suspects leave the store.
There were eight takeover robberies in less than a month. Police allege the men have hit stores in Santa Ana, Garden Grove, Fountain Valley and East Los Angeles, including a barbershop where they punched the uncooperative owner in the face. They also robbed two GameStop stores in one day.
"The potential for something bad happening increases the more and more they do this," said Bertagna.
At times, the suspects order victims to the back of the store, sometimes stealing from customers as well as taking money and items from the store itself.
"I know our economy is bad right now, but to revert to something like that, that's sad, it really is, and it's really scary for the people who work here as well, and myself," said Santa Ana resident Terry Martinez.
The suspects, who are in their late 20s, wear gloves and cover their faces. A camera, however, caught the suspect with the shotgun before he put on his bandana.