People inside Arboretum GAP robbed at gunpoint

Three armed men storm into store and rob customers inside

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - People at GAP in Charlotte's Arboretum area were robbed at gunpoint Saturday evening, police say.

The robbery happened just before 8 p.m. at the GAP store on Providence Road in the Arboretum Shopping Center. According to a police report, the robbers, armed with guns, robbed eight people inside of their belongings.

A few of the victims talked to WBTV about the holdup, but asked that we not reveal their identity. The men responsible have not been caught.

"I'm getting ready to walk out the door and I'm faced with four men with masks and guns, pointing and yelling everybody get down on the floor," said one of the female victims.

The woman said she went to the store to return something when the robbers began yelling at customers and the manager inside.

"He instantly grabs my bag and starts to pull me on my knees to get me to the back of the store to the fitting rooms," said the woman.

She pleaded with the robbers not to harm anyone.

"I just asked him, you know don't hurt me, I have kids at home," she said.

Another victim was shopping with his wife when both were robbed.

"Things happen, but yeah I was more worried about my wife, than me and I was just glad we didn't have our kids they were over at Nana and Paw Paw's house," the man said.

Both victims said they were told to line up on the wall while the robbers tried to get money from the store's manager.

It is unclear what the men took.

The woman we talked told WBTV she prayed out loud during the frightening encounter.

"I'm just thankful to be alive and praising God and thanking him for sparing my life," she said.

An iPhone 6, iPhone 5, wallet, money, debit card, credit cards, Droid Turbo, checkbook and purse were some of the items stolen. After obtaining the property, the robbers got into a vehicle and drove off, according to the police report.

One of the eight victims was moved "with force" from one side of the store to the other, the report states.

The robbers are facing armed robbery, kidnapping and assault charges.

One of the victims told WBTV that they were able to track down a cell phone using technology.

Police would not comment on whether the phone led them to any other tips, but did say they're investigating to see if the robbery is connected to any other incidents.

The news has Arboretum shoppers on edge.

"Definitely looking over my shoulder. You know, you go out to your car, no one around, anything can happen," Mike Vulcano said.

Shoppers agree these robberies are proof things like this can happen anywhere.

"I'm very surprised that that happened in this shopping center," Kelly Patterson said.

WBTV spoke to the leasing management group for The Arboretum to ask if the robbery prompted any changes to security around the busy holiday shopping season.

A spokesperson said they take the incident seriously and always employ additional manpower during the busy holiday season in conjunction with CMPD.

He said there will be added measures taken as a result of the robbery.

All three robbers are described as black males in their early 20s, about 5'9" to 6'0" tall with an average build. All were wearing dark-colored hoodies. One had a camouflage mask and tan jeans. The second was wearing blue jeans and the third black pants.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

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