Police step up patrols after employee robbed at gunpoint inside Beachwood Place

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BEACHWOOD, Ohio--An armed robbery inside a popular shopping mall has some shoppers and employees on edge and police searching for a gunman.

Around 9:30 a.m. Thursday, an employee was robbed inside Beachwood Place.

Police said the woman was setting up the T-Mobile cell phone kiosk on the second level about thirty minutes before it was set to open.

"An employee of T-Mobile was entering an employee-only area to retrieve phones, when she was approached by a man, brandishing a handgun. He requested or demanded several items of merchandise, including phones," said acting Beachwood Police Chief Keith Winebrenner.

According to Winebrenner, the employee could not get a description of the gunman because he was wearing a mask.

"I believe this person knew, planned ahead and knew her routine and knew she was going to that room to get the phones and the other merchandise and was waiting for her, yes, that's how it appears," Winebrenner said.

"I'm surprised it happened in general and in the area that we live in," said Lyndhurst resident, Jori Baker.

"We go to Beachwood Mall very, very often. It's unheard of. It's a very safe area, you know, Pepper Pike, Beachwood, this whole surrounding neighborhood," said Pepper Pike resident, Ted Lawrence.

Investigators said although stores in the mall were not yet open for business, the outside doors were unlocked to allow workers to get inside.

"Be aware of your surroundings and anybody who doesn't look right, call mall security. They have a lot of mall security up there and apparently the guy took advantage of the fact that they weren't in the area," said the acting chief.

"I mean the security and the police force here are absolutely amazing, so for somebody to attempt that and obviously do that is shocking, absolutely shocking," said Lawrence.

The employee was not injured.

Beachwood police said they will be beefing up patrols around the mall until further notice.  Investigators are also trying to gather up surveillance video from the mall to see if it gives them any clues.

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