61ºF

Robbers attack, pistol whip pawn shop employees in southwest Houston

HOUSTON – Houston police believe three armed men who robbed an EZ Pawn store had a plan, but it turned out to be a bad one.

The robbery happened Sept. 10 in the 9700 block of Beechnut.

Security video shows the three gunmen walking into the store wearing hoodies to disguise their identities in 90-degree weather.

Once inside, the robbers pistol-whipped two female employees, and one of the men jumped the counter intending to clean out the store’s safe, then discovered it was on a time lock and couldn't be opened, officials said.

The gunmen instead tried to clean out jewelry in a glass display case. The video shows one of the suspects attempting to break out the glass with his pistol but didn't even scratch it. The man then fired his pistol into the glass. It still didn't shatter.

Another suspect also tried to shoot out the glass and failed. Police found 9 millimeter and .45 caliber shells on the floor.

At that point, the robbers began to smash the glass with anything handy, including computer monitors, with no effect. What the suspects apparently didn't know was the case was constructed of bulletproof glass. 

After a few minutes of pounding, they gave up. One of them left something that could help police track them through DNA.

“In process of trying to break the glass, one of them cut their finger and left behind some blood in the scene," said Jeff Brieden, a robbery detective. 

The robbers had to settle for less than they expected to take; cash from the register, and a personal cellphone from one of the clerks. 

Police believe the three men have done it before and will rob again if they aren't caught. Police said they fear the next time, someone could be seriously hurt. 

"Anybody who can go into a business during broad daylight and then discharge firearms is extremely dangerous," Brieden said.

Police would like to get them off the street as quickly as possible. The DNA evidence could take weeks to process and isn’t a cinch to identify them even then. 

Police are asking that anyone who can help identify the robbers call Houston Crime Stoppers at 713-222-8477.