Thieves raid Tempe store - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Thieves raid Tempe store

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Posted: Saturday, January 3, 2004 2:37 am | Updated: 5:03 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

In a brazen Hollywood-style robbery, two men in ski masks stormed into a high-fashion store in Tempe, fired a shot into the ceiling and demanded cash.

Although no one was injured, store employees and customers were shaken. A woman who identified herself as an employee said she was lucky to be alive.

Two employees and three customers were shopping inside the store when the robbers burst into JPJ Fashion in a strip mall at 2747 W. Southern Ave. about 8:15 p.m., said Tempe police Sgt. Mike Powell. One of the thieves was armed.

The robbers ordered everyone to drop to the floor, then one man fired a revolver into the ceiling, Powell said. The thieves stole cash from the store and took wallets and purses from three customers, Powell said.

Victims described the two robbers to police as black men in their late 20s to early 30s, medium build, wearing dark clothing and ski masks. They were last seen running toward 48th Street and Southern, police said.

Police said they had no suspects.

Investigators carefully moved through the store, lifting fingerprints from the glass door, taking pictures of the bullet hole and putting other bits of evidence such as a cigarette butt in bags.

Investigators needed a fire engine to get on top of the store to inspect the exit hole from the bullet.

The store, which specializes in men’s suits and women’s dresses, is near the Phoenix border in a high-crime area. On Tuesday, a man was beaten with the butt of a shotgun in his apartment about a block away near Broadway Road and Priest Drive. Two men and a woman took his computer, television, four guns and his Cadillac.

Police arrested Jose Herrera, 27, in connection with Tuesday’s robbery after the victim found his attacker’s identification card on the floor, officials said.

Anyone with information on the store robbery or Tuesday’s home invasion is asked to call Tempe police at (480) 350-8311.

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