Sonora police officers were searching this morning for a man with a pistol who robbed Walmart on the 11200 block of Sanguinetti Road, then took off on foot toward Starbucks.
Details were sketchy as of 9:30 a.m. Store officials and police officers on scene declined to release information until the arrival of Chief Mark Stinson, who was not available and did not return telephone calls this morning.
Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Sgt. Jeff Wilson said the SPD called the Sheriff’s Office at 6:09 a.m. to help search for a white man, age 30 to 40, 6-foot-1 or 6-foot-2 in height, with a beard, gray hooded sweatshirt, black baseball cap and some kind of a handgun.
Officers were searching on foot and by car in areas around Walmart, on the 1100 block of Sanguinetti Road in Sonora this morning.
A Tuolumne County Transit passenger, Phil Rodriguez, said he didn’t see the incident, but was told by a Walmart employee that a bearded man entered the store, somehow got into the room with an employee where the cash was kept, pistol-whipped her, took money and ran away.
Kimberly Tucker, manager of PetSmart in the same shopping center, said her fiance is a Walmart employee who was called in early this morning because of the robbery.
“All I know is that (the associate) was with the company a long time, was a well trained associate and did everything she was supposed to do,” Tucker said. “She’s OK, but shaken up. I’m not telling you anything everybody on the block doesn’t know.”
Gretchen LaDue, temporary manager at the nearby Starbucks, said officers dropped by at 8 a.m. to tell them about the robbery and warn them to take precautions.
It was an active morning at the Sonora Crossroads Shopping Center.
Nearby, in front of Staples, a man reportedly wearing a pink dress was holding a knife. He was not responding to commands from a police officer on scene and started putting a green shirt on over the dress. The man was detained.