WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KRON) — A recent series of robberies in Walnut Creek have turned violent. On Friday, two seniors were targeted in two different parking lots for their property while they were grabbing a bite to eat.
Witnesses say two thieves in ski masks sat in a dark-colored Dodge inside of the Newell Promenade parking lot last Friday afternoon, as they waited for potential victims. Employees at a nearby Thai restaurant say the criminals settled on an elderly customer as he walked out to the parking lot after finishing his meal.
They hit him in the face and police say they took off with his watch. People who frequent the strip mall were stunned to learn about the violent robbery.
“Very unusual. It’s usually during the holidays from what I understand, but I’ll definitely pay more attention now,” said one resident.
An employee at one shop in the strip mall is also thinking about how to protect herself after news of recent robberies around downtown Walnut Creek. She’s now considering carrying pepper spray.
“Because I feel scared, I’m not feeling safe to be honest because right now it’s scary you can see that I’m scared. I feel like it’s not safe anymore,” said the employee.
A witness says another elderly man was knocked down on the same night while walking to his Porsche parked inside a Burger King parking lot. The Walnut Creek Downtown Association says robbery statistics aren’t spiking but wants to assure people that police are deploying extra patrols, especially ahead of the holidays.
“We want the downtown business community to be safe, especially as we are leading into the holidays that is definitely top of mind for us,” said Kathy Hemmenway of the Walnut Creek Downtown Association. “But beyond the holidays, we want downtown Walnut Creek to be a safe place to enjoy.”
Walnut Creek PD recommends that businesses avoid keeping cash inside and are investigating the brazen thefts. They also want shoppers to stay vigilant and report suspicious activity.