Armored truck stolen during robbery at Kroger in the Heights

December 28, 2011 5:37:58 AM PST
The search is on for the man who stole an armored truck at the Kroger in the Heights yesterday.

The FBI has been counting cash to see how much was stolen during this heist, though they never release exact figures. It was a bold robbery in the middle of the afternoon, two against one, and at the busy gas Kroger gas station on North Shepherd at 11th Street.

Business never really stopped. Pumps remained open despite gunfire in the parking lot that stopped Rosemary Perez right in her tracks.

"We heard three, then two seconds later, another three. It was six shots," Perez said.

She first ducked for cover behind the counter at the cleaners where she works across the street, and then when she looked up, saw the armored van speed off.

Authorities say two armored car guards came under fire shortly before 3pm Tuesday as they were making a delivery at the gas station. They exchanged gunfire with the robber. Stray bullets struck tires in the parking lot, but no one was hurt and the suspect managed to get away with the prize.

Minutes later, and just around the block, Houston police found the bullet-riddled van abandoned in the back of an apartment complex at 900 N. Durham where they think the armed robber transferred cash to a waiting car. K-9 units tried to track his scent while back at the gas station, loved ones comforted the guards.

When they were through, they didn't answer questions.

Triple D Security, the company which operates the van, said they had no comment. And the guards had to tell their stories again elsewhere. They were taken away from the scene. While across the street, Perez and her co-workers stood amazed that no one was hurt.

"It looked like he was just shooting at the van," said Teresa Torres.

The armored van had just finished a delivery at the Kroger before moving to the fuel center. There isn't a detailed description of the robber, but a reward is being offered by Crime Stoppers for information.

There were a few armored car robberies earlier this year and some remain unsolved. The FBI's Houston Area Bank Robbery Task Force is investigating to compare them to see if any are linked.

HPD is very familiar with this Kroger store, and it may seem familiar to you, too. That's because just a few weeks ago, Houston police invited the media to that Kroger for a press conference on safety. They spent that morning discussing what shoppers can do to avoid becoming crime victims. Then officers went from vehicle to vehicle, leaving notices on the windshields of those that were prime targets for thieves.

In addition, HPD has a storefront office directly across the street from the grocery store.


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