Two masked gunmen awaited a Chuck-A-Rama manager Monday morning while seven employees already lay bound with duct tape.
Beginning about 5 a.m. with a janitor, the men aimed a gun at the head of and taped up each employee who entered the restaurant at 1081 S. University Ave. When the assistant manager walked in about 7:15 a.m., one of the men pointed a gun at his head, demanding to be led to the money."I thought it was a joke," the manager said.
He led one gunman to a safe. The other intruder slipped outside.
At first, the manager had trouble producing the money, which agitated the robber. The man again held the gun to his head.
People often imagine how they'd react in a such a situation, but the restaurant assistant manager said it's a different story when it really happens.
"Your life becomes the most important thing," he said.
After he gave the gunman the cash, he was taped up and left with four other male and three female employees. The robber fled. None of the employees were injured.
For that, the manager was thankful.
"Basically, I didn't want them to shoot anybody," he said. "Had we not had any money in there, who knows?"
A bound worker was able to get hold of a pocketknife another worker was carrying. The worker used the knife to free himself and the others. They called police.
One of the employees told police she saw a man sitting in a red car, possibly a Ford Mustang, in the parking lot as she arrived for work. Provo Police Sgt. Richard Healey said the two men communicated by two-way radio during the robbery.
Police said restaurant workers described one of the robbers as being about 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing about 180 pounds. The other man was described as being a little smaller, Healey said.
Healey said investigators are trying to determine whether Monday's robbery might be tied to two others in the city.
A man armed with a silver handgun robbed a clerk at Recycle Ware USA, 800 N. 470 West, on Sept. 12. The man wore a fake mustache.
On the same day, a man brandishing a silver handgun took cash from a register at Sounds Easy, 77 N. 500 West. Police said he was wearing a dark nylon stocking over his face.