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Police: Gunmen Tie Up Columbia Dry Cleaning Employees, Steal Cash

The armed robbery happened as the business was closing, police said.


Two employees of Zips Dry Cleaning in Town Center were tied up and held at gunpoint by two armed robbers inside the business around 8 p.m. on Friday, according to police.

The employees were not injured, but shaken up, according to the evening manager Kevin Kim.

"I was just thinking about how to stay safe," said Kim on Tuesday.

Just before the robbery on Friday, Kim said he was taking trash out of the rear door to the dumpster when he was confronted by an armed masked man who was waiting for him at the door. Kim said the men had entered through the back door. 

Police said another employee was already tied up with zip-ties inside the business, when Kim was brought to the back and also tied up.

The two suspects stole wallets from the employees and two cash boxes from the office, according to police. The incident led to the other employee quitting the job, according to Kim.

Kim said he felt lucky.

"They could have used live weapons," said Kim.

He said it was the first robbery or burglary at the Zips in his one-and-a-half years working at the dry cleaners. In response to the robbery, Zips added more security and instituted new policies to improve safety, said Kim.

Police reported one of the victims' wallets was recovered near Broken Land Parkway and Snowden River Parkway by a citizen.

Police provided the following description of the suspects:

  • Suspect 1: Black male, 5'10" to 6', heavy build, wearing a black ski mask with dreadlocks showing and a bright orange jacket
  • Suspect 2: Black male, 5'4" to 5'6", thin build, wearing a black ski mask with a black jacket

The robbery occurred about a day and a half before a Taco Bell manager was critically injured in a shooting at the Taco Bell just off of Snowden River Parkway at about 1 a.m. on Sunday.

In that incident, police said two men wearing ski masks were hiding behind a dumpster when two employees came out to investigate a suspicious man in the parking lot.

One of the masked suspects shot the manager multiple times in the torso, police said. Police are still investigating both incidents.

A police spokesperson said detectives always look into similarities in crimes to determine if they are related, but at this time "there is nothing directly linking the two."

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bdr November 14, 2012 at 07:47 PM
kevin thank God you and my son are safe. eric s. you are an a__hole. 2 people could've been killed. you are a walking abortion to say some crap like that.
Eric S. November 14, 2012 at 08:33 PM
Notice what I said in my last comment: ------ Of course, I don't really want crime, especially violent, or potentially violent, crime like this to happen to anyone. ------ My apologies for coming off like I was trivializing the safety of real people to make a point. The whole reason I'd consider moving to the area is that it's a nice area, with houses and amenities I like, and what appears to be a sense of community. I appreciate that Patch reports on the good stuff just as much as the bad. I wouldn't know about the good stuff if I got my news elsewhere. The rest of my comments merely reflect my thoughts on what might be causing all this crime. Then again, it's also possible that the area is so nice that anything bad around here seems like the end of the world, compared to, say, Southeast DC or parts of Baltimore, where this is just any given Tuesday, and it takes 20 dead people to make the news. I honestly haven't been around long enough to know. So yeah, no, I don't want an increase in crime. I'm grateful the people involved this time weren't hurt. I'd love to see it not happen again, and a return to the most negative thing on here being political comments and complaints about the casino.
bdr November 14, 2012 at 09:04 PM
apology accepted.
Svelteone November 15, 2012 at 01:20 AM
I was thinking the same thing. I am just not sure where to go?
resident November 15, 2012 at 05:20 PM
What sucks is that I live in Ellicott City where I pay premium prices for my home and school but down the road is this infestation. What started out as a noble idea of building an integrated Colombia with forced subsidy is going downhill. And no, I am not a racist nor am I a White caucasian. Just pointing out the facts


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