Armed robbers steal thousands from Merced church fireworks stand

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Police in the North Valley are looking for two men who robbed a firework stand outside a church. The victims say the masked men, armed with shotguns, made off with several thousand dollars in cash.

The robbery happened late Tuesday night at the Calvary Temple Church on Highway 59 near Olive in Merced. Church members say as they were closing the stand for the night, when they were forced to lay on the ground while the suspects pointed shotguns at them. The crooks grabbed anywhere between $3,000 and $5,000 and a hand full of fireworks.

The church had debated opening the stand for its final day of sales Wednesday. They decided to open since they are working to raise money for a children's church camp.

"It was me and a couple of the other guys and we were like, you know what, we need to keep doing. This is a bigger picture, we're trying to help out kids," said church volunteer Bryce Green.

"It's just evil, to be able to come to a non-profit organization and to rob people who are just trying to make a difference in the community," said Youth Pastor Nathan Allen.

No arrests have been made. The church says it has already developed a safety plan for its firework stand operation next year.

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merced, merced county, robbery, crimetracker, local, rick montanez
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