SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — Pointing a gun right at a gas station clerk, a man in a traffic vest and a ball cap demanded money as his accomplice, wearing a mask, grabbed the cash.

“We’re sitting here not knowing who’s going to walk through that door,” Elias Khawan, the owner, said.

The thieves, who did not initially raise the clerk’s suspicion due to local orders for face coverings in light of the coronavirus pandemic, took off in a silver Nissan Altima last Friday at 2 a.m.

Khawan said he has never seen anything like it the 17 years he’s run his Santa Ana gas station and convenience store. He said local face covering requirements put his staff in danger.

“It’s horrible,” he said. “I mean, I know we have to take certain measures because of what’s happening with COVID-19, but it’s the perfect script or manual for a robber — the mask, the sunshade and a hoodie. You don’t know who’s coming, who’s walking in.”

Khawan and his staff feel so unsafe that he has cut his hours from being open all night to closing at 10 p.m., a 25% hit to his bottom line. He has also added signs at his store prohibiting hoodies, backpacks and handbags.

“They’re very scared,” he said. “I have two employees who said, ‘No, we don’t want to work at nighttime.'”

And Santa Ana police confirmed Thursday that robberies in the city have increased by 50% since the lockdown.

In an April robbery, a thief hid his face with a bandana at a doughnut shop on Bristol. The cashier was caught off guard when the thief pulled out a gun and placed it on the counter. The thief then emptied both registers before getting away.

“It’s the norm,” Cpl. Anthony Bertagna, with Santa Ana PD, said. “So we’re seeing more an more suspects wearing the mask and using that to their benefit.”

Police said they were not exactly sure why there has been such an increase in robberies, but said it could be related to the number of inmates released from area jails due to the pandemic.

Comments (100)
  1. Could it have anything to do with partially emptying the jails and prisons?

    1. Dale says:

      The last paragraph of the article suggests that.

    2. dhfgfhgf says:

      Thank a ahole Democrat

  2. Fred says:

    Plus they are letting criminals OUT of jail on purpose…..and recidivism rates are high!

  3. Yes, and be on the lookout for “excess death rates” because of murders by masked criminals.

    1. Spanky Johnson says:

      Shot in an armed robbery? That counts as a corona death.

  4. kentuckian says:

    Who didn’t see that coming? Raise your hand

  5. Tiede says:

    Gee, who could have imagined this?

  6. Sho Rembo says:

    Impossible. They have strict gun control in California.

    One thing though, if any of the clerks had gotten shot and killed they would have died of Coronavirus.

  7. Kurt Schreiber says:

    When wolf costumes are widely issued, the wolves take advantage.
    Like the sage said, “Surprise, surprise, surprise!”

  8. Joseph Edelen says:

    That’s one of the reasons my friends and I have changed over to poison coated bullets…now every flesh wound is fatal. Remember… Never shoot to wound. Always shoot to kill. that way there is only one side of the story to tell..

    1. redacted says:

      In all seriousness, you might want to delete, or at least modify, this post. Should you need to defend yourself in the future, this comment may come back and bite you. Especially since it looks like you’ve published your real name.

      …then again, maybe it’s your nasty neighbor’s name!

      On the other hand, and as Gordon likes to say – make all shots head-shots. If you don’t want them to get back up–and you shouldn’t–then make sure you are calm, and practiced enough, to take only head-shots.

  9. David A says:

    So how about others take advantage of the mask mandate and perform armed robberies on the armed robbers typical neighborhoods where the robbers originate from.

  10. redacted says:

    It’s really no different than looting.
    And the punishment, should be the same as it used to be.

  11. Richard Edward Mulroy III says:

    The media should not publicize this. Trumpers will copy cat to cause more chaos.

    1. hfjfgjgh says:

      lying lefty kahunt

  12. Good thing we are spreading the news to all the less inventive criminals out there, lol.

  13. Frank says:

    If they can’t see your face, they can’t identify you. A guy in a mast is the most common sight now, no one suspects anything unless there’s a gun in your hand!

  14. Robert Blum says:

    With so many unemployed, the economy and court systems shut down and politicians releasing prisoners.. . . What could possibly go wrong. . . other than to abandon the 2nd amendment.

  15. Joseph Emanuele says:

    I called this one weeks ago. People are broke. New criminals are being created (by the government as usual.) Has nothing to do with the jails being let out.

    1. fsdgdfg says:

      Lying ahole

  16. Courtney says:

    This is why you keep a gun under the counter. You drop, fire through the counter top. Then roll out firing!

  17. pigs says:

    hmmm i wonder why people are robbin oh wait unemployment is at a historical high… nope i dont wonder why – but i do wonder how the pigs wonder…. black or mexican pull em over right officer ?

    1. fghjfghj says:

      right because mexicans and africans are so weak they need an excuse

  18. Jack McCready says:

    Good. Stupid Democrats empty their jails. They deserve everything they get.

  19. Fidel007 says:

    Sure empty the jails and have 40 million unemployed around the country. Cut back on your city budget by laying off police and firefighters…ahhhh duh!

  20. theresistanceisfutile says:

    Habla espanol pendejo?

  21. Henry says:

    Angelenos, worry no more — your mayor and your governor are the government, and they’re here to help you!

    Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!

  22. Gene Easley says:

    Duh. The coronavirus virus is so small it goes right through the masks–like trying to stop a mosquito with a chainlink fence. This coronavirus scam needs to end before the entire country is destroyed. Should of followed the Sweden, Belarus response–they essentially did little to nothing and are now doing fine. Trump is to blame for this. The buck stops at the White House.

  23. See this on Drudge? For more real California news, try

  24. JT says:

    They were only taking Rahm Emanuael famous phrase to the next level: “Never let a crisis go to waste.”

  25. Lenard Pringle says:

    You can thank gun control for making people into helpless victims. I’ll bet there are a lot more crimes besides just armed robbery.

  26. Bo says:

    Everyone now walks around looking like a bandit about to rob a stagecoach so who couldn’t predict criminals would take advantage of the mask requirement except for progressives

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