Two men armed with at least one pistol and a hammer smashed their way into the watch cases at the Danville Costco store on Fostoria Way Friday, firing at least three shots into the air as they fled to a waiting car.
The pair, described as two black males in their late teens to mid 20s and dressed in black, escaped with at least two Rolex watches and made their way to a silver-colored Toyota Camry waiting outside the store – possibly with a white male driver behind the wheel.
“My friend and I were there and walking out just as they walked past us,” said reader Joy Poulsen. “Black hoodies, one in a ‘scream’ mask and the other had sunglasses and a mouth mask on. We looked at each other and said ‘that’s trouble’ and ran with our cart to the car left it there got in, my friend called 911 as I drove like Dukes of Hazard out of there!”
Police Chief Steve Simpkins said his officers were called to the Costco at approximately 12:17 p.m. after one of the two suspects who entered the store went to a glass case, smashed it with a hammer, and grabbed items. An employee attempted to intervene and the second suspect fired a weapon, Simpkins said. The employee retreated and the two men fled into a waiting newer silver Toyota Camry with paper license plates.
A third suspect, described by witnesses as a white or hispanic male, drove off in the Camry. While the suspects were fleeing the parking lot, they fired a second shot up into the air.
The two suspects who entered the store are described as male, 5’9” – 6’ tall, slender build. Suspect one was wearing a black hoodie, gray pants, gloves and a mask. Suspect two was wearing black hoodie, black pants, gloves and a mask.
One bystander fell while attempting to avoid the suspects and was subsequently treated for shock, according to police.
Anyone who witnessed the incident or has further information is encouraged to contact the Danville Police Department at (925) 820-2144.
Costco was immediately closed as police conducted their investigation and media descended on the scene. It reopened at 2:45 p.m.
Witnesses contacting this site described a scene of panic and confusion as crowds of shoppers hurried to escape the area as shots rang out, with at least some shoppers reporting that they fled out the back door when they heard what sounded like firecrackers in the store – and quickly realized a robbery was underway.
Readers will remember a prior smash-and-grab attempt at the very same store, with thieves attacking the watch case in much the same manner until employees tackled one of the thieves and took him into custody.
Costco sells Rolex? Closest I’ve ever come to Rolex was when I bought a Rolek watch from a guy outside BART.
@Tom – You’ve got a Rolek? Want to buy ours? Ten bucks. We must have got it from the same guy you ran into outside BART.
Twice??? The same store and the same watch counter???? This time with a gun?????
That’s insane. someone could have been killed.
I can’t figure out what was worse — — the robbery or all the media trying to get people to talk in the parking lot afterward.
@Kelly – Damn Media Vampires!
Think I’ll put off that trip to the store today.
Thanks for the news flash. Watching from a distance. Glad no one was seriously hurt.
Wow. We were just in there.
They CAME BACK?????
@Amy – Still TBD, but the methods and characters detailed in both incidents are remarkably similar.
got it on ur alert and thank you! Could have easily been there today.
@Elizabeth – You are most welcome!
Thats pretty wild. Prolly came back to raise money for the guy they lost last time.
Got your flash and couldn’t believe it. So strange and scary.
@Ashleigh – Yes, we try to understate these things but sometimes they transcend belief.
I’m going to try this. Working for a living is getting old, and this sounds pretty lucrative.
I’ll even talk to the media afterwards. My husband will be okay with it – we’re extroverts, and that’s the way we roll…
@Danielle – As long as you give us the exclusive “Ma Barker Moment” in the calaboose we’re okay with this. And we promise to capture your “good side” when they call us to make your mug shot!
Our lawmakers/LEOs need to come up with a way to close this “paper plates” loophole that seems to be commonly used by criminals.
@Raised in Laf: law eliminating generic paper license plates already passed. Goes into effect in 2019. A stop-gap would be for cops to take the position that having paper plates on a used cars is probable cause to pull someone over, check temporary registration paper work and run warrants. That would cut down on their use….
Agreed – and thanks, learn something new every day!
I agree too, thatthese paper plates on used cars doed definitely make it suspect.. and why does the new law have to take two years to get into effect. It should put it into effect right away. It used to be the normal procedure a few decades back that when you bought a new car you got a paper number plate did the dealer taped in your back window until your license plated came.
I think the police should give extra scrutiny to any car they see with paper plates.
I wondered when the abolishment of paper license plates was coming. As I suspected it’s more about catching toll violators, but it will, undoubtedly, help in catching crooks & thieves. So, a win for sure.
That got everyone’s attention.
News24/680… Lol! Please go with something prior to 1985 – not that society would ever judge the ladies on our looks. I want to look my best.
The new law is more about catching toll violators, and I hope it helps to catch criminals. But I have my doubts.
After Jan. 1, 2019 – I wouldn’t be surprised if the criminals go back to stealing plates off other cars, or go with no plates at all. They did it for years – until they switched to paper plates to offset the cameras.
Please keep in mind criminals have all day long to think about these things, and they get an advanced degree in criminology in prison.
@Greg T: California is one of the last states to eliminate generic temp plates. The reason for the delay is the (modest) technology investment required to generate, register and print temp plates at the dealership— many of which are very small businesses.
@Danielle: I agree that catching crooks is a whack-a-mole problem, but it is still some progress. Plus, in-patrol-car License plate readers can already pull up Year/Make/Model info such that an curious cop could note a discrepancy between the plate and the car, which sounds like PLENTY of probable cause to pull over. I would not be surprised if the plate reader systems soon add the ability to do am automatic preliminary match or mismatch check based on tail light pattern or whatever….
Hmmm. Tail recognition. After face recognition, that is the inevitable next step.
Chris, I hope you’re right. I think you have a tendency to “over-analyze” situations. I can’t speak for law enforcement, and I’m not a lawyer. Unless you create “suspicion” – I believe law enforcement probably sits at the red light the same way the rest of us do. They’re waiting for the light to turn green. They’re human. Tail light pattern?
Danielle: Guilty as charged on over thinking everything. My point was that if bad guys start stealing / swapping license plates, then a response would be to use technology to automatically check to see if the number on the plate matches the car the license plate is supposed to be on. The easiest way to do that (from a “machine vision” perspective) is probably via the distinctive pattern of tail lights on cars. If the in-patrol-car camera sees a plate belonging to a Civic on a Camry, it should alert the cop and he/she can confirm (or refute) the potential mismatch.