STOCKTON -- A mother in Stockton explained the confusing and terrifying experience she had Monday night when a group of five young men robbed a restaurant she was visiting.
"You got all these thoughts running through your mind," Maria said.
Maria chose to keep her last name private because she said the robbers stole her phone which contained her personal information.
The armed robbery occurred at the Popeye's on West Lane in Stockton Monday night at around 9:30 p.m. just before the restaurant was scheduled to close.
Maria said she was in line with her fiancé when the robbers charged in, hit her in the back of the head, stole her phone and tried to take her purse, but she held onto it.
"They rushed in so fast they couldn't even get in, because they were tripping over each other. It's like they weren't knowing what they were doing so well," Maria said.
Maria said the young men were all wearing black clothing, black gloves, and covered their faces with ski masks and bandannas. She said the tallest of the bunch held a silver shotgun, slammed it on the cash registers, and ordered the employees to open the drawers and give them cash.
"I heard him saying, open it now or I'm gonna start shooting people." Maria said.
Maria said she wanted to speak out to be a voice for the community members in Stockton who are tired of being victims of violent crime, and equally tired of witnessing young people commit the crimes.
She said she could see that at least two of the young men who robbed the Popeye's were teenagers, and said they looked scared.
"Just the look in one of them's eyes, he looked scared like maybe he didn't want to be there but he was doing it anyways," Maria said.
Stockton police are hoping surveillance video can give them a clearer image of the suspects. They are believed to be five African American males, aged 17-23. Witnesses said they fled to a nearby apartment complex.
Maria said she hopes they stop robbing people and businesses so that the small amount of money doesn't end up costing them their lives.
"Because eventually they're going to hit the wrong place. It could be just someone like me in there to eat, or it could be an off duty cop, and it's not worth it," Maria said.
If you think you have information about the robbery, contact Stockton police.