To top off its four-year anniversary, a Castro Valley video game store experienced its first armed robbery Tuesday evening.
A masked suspect pulled out a gun at 7:36 p.m. on two employees working at on Redwood Road, according to store co-owners Alex Sadie and James Rabuco.
The two-and-a-half-minute holdup was "an unfortunate incident" Sadie said, adding that he's proud of the way the employees handled the situation and relieved no one was hurt.
"It was the best-case scenario possible," he said.
According to Sadie and Rabuco, the suspect is an African-American man in his late teens or early 20s. He was wearing a mask, a baggy black jacket, black gloves and jeans (see attached photos).
Money and merchandise were stolen, according to Sadie, but they are still working on figuring out how much.
The co-owners said the incident was captured on their surveillance cameras, and the Alameda County Sheriff's Office is investigating the case.
The Game Alley, which closes at 8 p.m. on weekdays, had no customers inside at the time of the robbery. The employees, one woman and one man, obeyed the gunman's orders, did not argue and did not "try to become heroes" — as they are trained to do, according to the co-owners.
Both co-owners said a robbery or burglary can happen to any business and offered some advice to other business owners, managers and employees on how to deal with such situations.
"Don't let your guard down. If anything's going to happen it's going to happen in that last hour," Sadie said.
He said it's also best to never leave an employee to close the shop alone.
"Talk about yourself and your family [to the suspect]," Rabuco said. "Let the person connect with you. If there's a gun involved... then, (say) 'Hey here you go [and hand over the store merchandise].'"
Sadie and Rabuco released the following statement on The Game Alley's Facebook page Wednesday morning:
Thanks for all the email, calls, and text messages we received in the last 12 hours. We truly appreciate your concern for our store and our employees.
We were robbed at gunpoint last night. It was an unfortunate incident but I am happy to say that all the employees are safe and handled themselves in a calm manner. We have some pretty smart employees.
Sheriff was contacted and their response was swift. We had at least 4-5 squad cars here within minutes. Sheriff took statements and the incident is under investigation.
The incident last night caused NO disruption in our operation.
Thanks again for your concern!
Anyone with information is asked to call Alameda County Sheriff's Office investigators at 510-667-7721.