MERCED -- Merced and Atwater police are searching for two men responsible for a spate of robberies at local recycling businesses.
The most recent robbery was reported Monday around 9:45 a.m. at Atwater's Kingsview Work Experience Center, 2145 Atwater Blvd.
Dan Brunger, the center's operations manager, said the two robbers approached as if they were going to recycle cans and bottles. Instead, the men pulled guns and demanded cash from employees at the business.
One of the robbers reached over the counter and grabbed a cash box, throwing it to the ground. Change came out of the cash box. One of the robbers pointed the gun at a female employee, demanding more money.
The robber led the woman at gunpoint upstairs, where she complied with his demands and turned over money. The two men fled on-foot with a moderate amount of cash, Brunger said.
The center employees mentally disabled people to help them gain work experience skills. Brunger said two of the four employees who were held at gunpoint are mentally disabled. Brunger said the employees were shaken by the experience.
Just 45 minutes earlier, another robbery was reported at a Merced recycling business in the 1700 block of Yosemite Parkway. Merced Police Sgt. Scott Skinner said the robbers at the Yosemite Parkway robbery matched the description of those involved in the Atwater incident, and the circumstances were similar.
Skinner said police believe the same people are also responsible for a robbery reported Friday at a recycling business the 1100 block of Martin Luther King Boulevard in Merced.
The robbers are described as black men in the late 20s. They were wearing black shirts, black pants and weighed around 220 pounds. The robbers are around 6-feet-tall.
Merced detectives are asking anyone with information to call (209) 385-4702 or the department's automated tipline at (209) 385-4725.
Atwater detectives are asking anyone with information to call (209) 357-6396 or the department's automated tipline at (209) 357-6390.
City Editor Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or email@example.com.