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Crime & Courts

Man pulls knife on employees in robbery at Anchorage hardware store

Anchorage police are looking for a robbery suspect who pulled a knife on employees at Andy's Ace Hardware before dropping his car keys and fleeing on foot Monday morning.

Police got a call about the robbery at the Muldoon hardware store around 11:45 a.m. Monday, spokesperson MJ Thim wrote in a release.

Store owner Stephanie Van Nees said the man was stealing tools, including saw blades, which he had shoved up his sleeve.

One employee confronted the man, Van Nees said. The two got in a scuffle and the suspect bit the employee's arm. A second employee approached them. The suspect pulled a knife on the two employees and then fled, Van Nees said.

On his way to his car, the suspect dropped some of the stolen items, along with his car keys. So, he fled on foot. Police said they aren't sure which way he ran.

Police describe the suspect as a white male in his 30s with a short reddish-brown beard and a "lazy" right eye. He was last seen wearing blue jeans, a white undershirt, black zip-up sweatshirt jacket and black baseball cap.

Police are reviewing surveillance footage of the incident, and they also spoke with other employees and customers in the store during the robbery. There were about 20 people in the store during the robbery, Van Nees said.

"I just think it's getting out of control and ridiculous," Van Nees said of crime in Anchorage. "We've been in business 58 years … we've never had crimes involving weapons and this is the second one in three months," she said.

In June, a man fired several bullets at the store's cash register during a robbery. A security guard shot the man as he fled, and he was taken to a local hospital. The suspect, William Travis McCann, was later found guilty of robbery, assault, and misconduct involving a weapon. He was sentenced to 28 years in prison.

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