Gunman serves customer, robs Kansas City Zoo employees - KCTV5 News

Gunman serves customer, robs Kansas City Zoo employees

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Police are looking for a man who held up two workers at a concession stand tucked away in the Africa section at the Kansas City Zoo.

Before committing the robbery, the suspect who was wearing a Kansas City Zoo employee shirt even donned food preparation gloves and served a thirsty customer wanting to buy a soft drink.

It began unfolding just before 5 p.m. Sunday. The zoo was in the process of closing and the animals were heading to their stalls for the night.

Police say an armed man walked into the TreeTops Snacks concession stand. The man knocked on a side door and said he worked at the nearby Rafiki food stand, which he said needed some Dr. Pepper.

The helpful workers showed the suspect where the Dr. Pepper was located.

"The suspect then came to the front of the stand, put on food-handling gloves and assisted the victims fill a customer's soda and handed it to the customer," according to a report from the Kansas City Police Department. "After that customer left, the suspect stated he needed a favor and then pulled out a black semi-automatic pistol and told the victims to empty the register, the victims then backed away and the suspect opened the register himself and took an unknown amount of cash."

The suspect ran from the scene. It wasn't immediately clear Monday how the gunman was able to escape from the zoo without detection.

The small hut is in the far northern part of the zoo and hidden underneath the skylift.

Police Chief Daryl Forte would not say the amount of money stolen. No one was hurt during the holdup.

The suspect was described as a tall skinny black man with a short Afro-style haircut. An age wasn't provided.

Anyone with information is asked to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS.

Zoo goers Monday said they felt safe at the zoo and weren't worried about any issues, saying they enjoyed seeing the animals.

The zoo has made headlines this year for violence during an admission-free day and chimps escaping their exhibit area.

The zoo director Randy Wisthoff posted the following statement on the zoo's Facebook page about the robbery:

Thanks to the quick actions of KCPD, who are regularly at the Zoo, and the Zoo staff, much information was gathered concerning the robbery at the Zoo on Sunday afternoon. The investigation by KCPD is ongoing and we are supporting them. As the Zoo strives to become a world-class, family-friendly Zoo, we are growing quickly in many ways including safety and security. We have increased staff and added a KCPD presence to the Zoo. Safety and security for our guests, employees, and animals are priority one. We realize with higher visibility as a major attraction for the community and surrounding areas that more attention is being drawn to us and we are adjusting our procedures accordingly to make the visitor experience safe and enjoyable. We believe that the Kansas City Zoo is a safe place for all ages to visit.

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