HICKORY, N.C. - Police are looking for two armed suspects who they said robbed the Aquarium Skill Fish Games in Hickory just before 5:30 a.m. on Friday.
Officers said the robbers entered the business at 306 Highway 70 SW, flashed weapons and stole an undisclosed amount of money. Nearly a dozen people were inside.
One suspect was carrying a handgun and the other a rifle, according to officials.
Eyewitness News reporter Dave Faherty was at the scene and learned this is the third robbery at a Hickory-area video poker parlor in the last month, and the second this week.
"Because they want money. They want the money,” said Hickory resident Lule Flowers.
Police said that as the robbers left the property in an older-model red vehicle, an armed security guard fired several shots at them. No injuries or property damage was reported.
The suspects were both wearing dark clothing and masks, according to officials.
In both robberies this week, the thieves were in and out of the businesses in less than two minutes in the early hours of the morning.
At the Hook Arcade on Springs Road, surveillance video shows one of the masked men with the gun out as he and another robber came into the business.
Customers at both businesses said they were unaware of what happened until the men were leaving.
"My heart started racing,” customer Amanda Childers said. “We all started talking. We just got robbed. I started looking around because I didn't realize it at first."
Police are trying to determine if the cases this week are linked to a third robbery in Conover earlier this summer.
No one was injured Friday when the security officers shot at the robbers in the parking lot.
"That's pretty cool,” Leah Hensley. “I would say trying to fight back."
"He could have put other people's lives in danger and jeopardy,” neighbor Linwood Wilfong said.
Police said they're comparing the surveillance videos from the businesses to see if there are any similarities.
Anyone with information about the investigation is asked to call the Hickory Police Department at 828-328-5551 or contact Investigator D. Bailey directly at 828-261-2687 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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