Armed robbers steal thousands from Grass Valley auto store |

Armed robbers steal thousands from Grass Valley auto store

Two men, one armed with a sawed-off rifle and the other with a knife and a crowbar, robbed AutoZone in Grass Valley Monday night before tying up the employees and fleeing.

Grass Valley Police officers were dispatched to the auto parts store in the 400 block of Brunswick Road a little after 10 p.m. after the two staff members freed themselves and called 911, said Lt. Joe Matteoni.

Two men wearing cloth masks of some sort over the bottom half of their faces entered the store just before 10 p.m. and demanded money.

According to dispatch reports, one man had a .22-caliber sawed-off rifle and the other had a hunting knife and a crowbar, and looked very under the influence of a controlled substance.

“When they came in, they were soaking wet,” said store manager Chris Holman, adding that they hit the store just a few minutes before closing time, and before the employees locked the doors. “They came in wearing the masks and pointed a gun at the assistant manager.”

After the two robbers cleaned out the register, they forced the employees into the back to get money out of a safe, Holman said.

The suspects ended up taking more than $2,000 from the cash registers and the safe, according to Matteoni.

“They then escorted them into the bathroom and bound their hands together,” he said.

Both men were wearing black jackets or hoodies, black baseball caps and black pants. According to the dispatch logs, the man with the rifle was in his late teens or early 20s, weighing 160-170 pounds, with chin-length curly blond hair, and was wearing camo gloves.

The man with the knife was described as having brown hair, of unknown age, weighing 160-170 pounds, wearing black boots and black gloves.

“It seemed like they knew what they were doing,” Holman said. “They were in and out pretty quick — probably within 10 minutes.”

No injuries were reported by the employees, he said, adding, “They’re both safe.”

It was not known whether they left on foot or in a vehicle, and the robbery remains under investigation, Matteoni said Tuesday afternoon.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at

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