Caught on tape: Crooks rob hotel clerk at gunpoint

By Christina Vazquez, Reporter, cvazquez@wplg.com
Published On: Oct 26 2012 06:03:36 PM EDT
Updated On: Oct 27 2012 11:56:11 PM EDT

A woman was robbed at gunpoint at the Executive Economy Lodge where she has worked for 14 years, but this hotel clerk refuses to let the crooks get the best of her.

POMPANO BEACH, Fla. -

Detectives in Pompano Beach are hoping newly-released surveillance video can help them catch the pair of crooks who robbed the Executive Economy Lodge at 555 S. Federal Highway.

For 14 years, Joan, has been working the front desk at the hotel. She told Local 10's Christina Vazquez that in all those years, this was a first -- two men wearing sunglasses demanding money at gunpoint.

According to police, the pair walked into the hotel's lobby around 10:40 p.m. on October 15.

Joan said she was sitting in the lobby when the men walked in. She quickly made her way behind the counter to assist them.

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Hotel thieves

Hotel thieves

Hotel thieves

If you recognize these men, call Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.

At first, the suspects requested a room, but then they demanded money.

"I thought, listen, I've seen Oprah. I've taken self-defense classes. I am married to a military man. I said, "Alright. come right around. I will get you what you want,'" she said.

According to Joan, one of the men held a small gun pointed at her, while the other held open a plastic bag for her to deposit the money.

After they had all the cash in the bag, surveillance video shows one of the suspects spraying a substance on Joan's face.

"Old deodorant, old perfume or something because I couldn't get it out of my hair or out of my clothes," Joan said. "It was just awful, but it stung."

In the video, Joan appears to be very calm. But she said her stomach was churning.

"I thought I was going to throw up," she said. "But I knew in my heart and I knew in my brain not to do anything stupid."

And Joan wasn't the only one who was scared.

"He was so nervous," she said about one of the robbers. "They could have left and shot me, I just feel like it was Divine intervention and it just wasn't my time to go."

Once they had the money, the robbers fled on foot.

"I can tell you when it hit me. It was Wednesday," Joan said. "I just felt like somebody had rolled over me with a car. I just didn't feel like doing anything and I was saying, "My God, I am alive and this guy had a gun.' I think about it and I think 'What if?'"

Despite her ordeal, Joan says she had no reservations about going back to work.

"I'm not going to let them get the best of me," she said.

Police say both suspects are black men in their 20s, each measuring about 5 feet, 9 inches. One wore a blue shirt, khaki shorts, had a beard, a low haircut and had on dark sunglasses. The second suspect wore a gray shirt, dark jeans, had a low haircut and wore red-framed sunglasses.

Anyone with information about this robbery or the identity of the suspects is asked to call Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS or submit them online at www.browardcrimestoppers.org.

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