ALAMEDA — A man used a rock to break a window at Trader Joe's Wednesday night before he stepped through the frame and confronted employees at gunpoint, demanding cash, police said.
No one was hurt during the robbery, which occurred about 10 minutes after the store closed and marks the third time that a Trader Joe's in the Bay Area has been robbed since June.
Alameda police detective Sgt. Don Owyang said today that he believes the suspect — described as a black man in his 20s with dreadlocks — was also behind the robbery at a Trader Joe's in Walnut Creek on July 27.
The suspect also may have been behind a similar robbery in El Cerrito in June, said Owyang, who noted that he still must go over the earlier case with El Cerrito investigators.
After the suspect entered the store at Alameda Towne Centre about 9:40 p.m., he confronted the 40-year-old manager, who was counting cash in a nearby booth, police said.
At least three other employees were in the business.
The suspect fled with two cash drawers, police said.
How much money was stolen was not immediately available.
No one saw which direction the suspect fled and police do not have a description of a suspect vehicle.
Owyang said Alameda investigators will be reviewing surveillance tape today in an effort to identify the man.
Employees told police that the suspect stands 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighs 180 pounds and has a dark complexion. He was wearing a red hat, ski mask, a black "hoodie," dark pants and dark shoes.
He was armed with a black semi-automatic pistol, the manager told police.
The suspect in the Walnut Creek case brandished a similar gun, according to investigators.
But as the clerk in that case was trying to open the safe, the suspect fired several shots before he fled with cash from off the counter. No one was hurt.
Alameda police ask anyone with information to call 510-337-8340.
Reach Peter Hegarty at firstname.lastname@example.org or 510-748-1654.