Robber shut restaurant employees in freezer, Anchorage police say

Anchorage police were investigating reports of robberies or attempted robberies at three businesses Saturday -- including one case in which a suspect shut employees of a restaurant into a store freezer before taking money from a cash register.

The first reported robbery happened around 4:41 a.m. at a Holiday gas station on the corner of East 68th Avenue and Lake Otis Parkway, Renee Oistad, Anchorage police spokeswoman, said in an email. A man wearing dark clothing walked into the gas station, pointed a handgun at the cashier and demanded money, Oistad said.

The employee gave the man the money and he ran away with the cash, Oistad said. She said police set up a perimeter and launched a dog search, but no arrests were made.

About 10:27 a.m., police went to the McDonald's at 255 Muldoon Road after receiving a report of an attempted robbery at the drive-through window.

"A suspect had walked up to the drive-through window, pointed a handgun at the employee and demanded she open the window," Oistad wrote in the email.

The employee backed away and the man ran, Oistad said. She said he was wearing dark clothing, and was about 5-foot-7-inches tall.

Moments later, about 10:38 a.m., another report of a robbery came in -- from the Arby's at 1135 Muldoon Road.

According to Oistad, a man walked into the restaurant, pointed a handgun and demanded the employees open the register. After the register was opened, Oistad wrote, the man led three employees at gunpoint to the back of the store and shut them in the freezer.

Oistad said that a few moments later, one of the employees -- who was still wearing his headset -- heard a customer in the drive-through, trying to order food.

The employee told the customer what was happening and the customer called police, Oistad said.

She said the employees then let themselves out of the freezer and found that cash had been taken from the cash register.

The suspect in that case was also described as wearing dark clothing and about 5-foot-7-inches tall, Oistad said.

Oistad couldn't immediately confirm if the robberies were related. She said police were investigating that possibility.

Police said anyone with information about any of these crimes can call police dispatch at 907-786-8900 and press "0" to speak with an operator. You can remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 907-561-STOP or submitting a tip online at

Devin Kelly

Devin Kelly was an ADN staff reporter.