• PHOTOS: Trio accused of robbing police officer at SouthPark Mall

    By: Gina Esposito

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Investigators said they are looking for three men who robbed a police officer from Ecuador at gunpoint Monday evening at SouthPark Mall.

    Franklin Cruz told Channel 9 he interviews victims all the time as the captain of a police department in Ecuador, but he said this is the first time he was a victim.

    According to Cruz, he was in the parking deck outside SouthPark Mall around 5 p.m., putting shopping bags in trunk of his car when three men came up behind him and robbed him at gunpoint.

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    His wife, 2-year-old son and aunt were inside the mall, waiting for him.

    "We were in the store, and I got a call from Franklin saying, 'I just got robbed at gunpoint, come down here,"' Cruz's aunt said. "They were pointing a gun to his belly, telling him to give them the car keys. They wanted the car keys, and he told them they didn't have them."


    (Police are looking for the three men in the above photo.)

    Instead, Cruz handed over cash, credit cards, his visa and his police ID.

    Cruz's aunt said they picked SouthPark Mall for its safety, and they're surprised this happened.

    "It was dramatic. He was all shaken and upset," she said.

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    While many witnesses rushed to help Cruz, his family said SouthPark Mall security didn't seem too concerned.

    "I was told it was nothing, just, 'Unfortunate that this happened,' 'Sorry,'" Cruz's aunt said. "Security guards said they saw the three guys running across the parking (deck). They even pointed out the direction."

    Detectives told Channel 9 they were able to gather surveillance video of the three suspects and they hope it will help identify the men.


    (CMPD says they are looking for three men, including the two photographed above.)

    Cruz said he now knows how it feels to be a victim, and while he thinks police are doing their part, his family said they just wish mall security stepped up, too.

    Channel 9 contacted Simon Malls, which runs Southpark Mall, to ask if it will make any security changes.

    We have not yet heard back.

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