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14 department-store workers rescued after LA armed robbery drama

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Friday, January 11, 2013 - 9:04 am

LOS ANGELES — Fourteen department-store employees have been rescued by a Los Angeles SWAT team after a four-hour armed robbery hostage drama inside a Nordstrom Rack department store, a police spokesman said Friday.

The two robbers have escaped despite an extensive search of the department store.

No one was hurt.

The employees — 13 women and a man — were being questioned.

The ordeal at the Promenade at Howard Hughes Center began at about 11 p.m., when a boyfriend of a Nordstrom worker placed a frantic 911 call and said his girlfriend called him and said there were armed robbers in the store, Lt. Andy Neiman told KTTV-TV.

Police officers and special weapons teams swarmed the mall. Stores were closed, but moviegoers at a theater in the complex were sheltered in place as a precaution, the lieutenant said.

The southbound Howard Hughes Parkway freeway off-ramp on nearby Interstate 405 was shut down during the hostage drama.

Just after 3 a.m., SWAT team members entered the Nordstrom Rack and found some employees locked in storage area and others hiding in a bathroom, Neiman said.

It's unclear when the suspects escaped.

The Promenade is an outdoor shopping center with stores, restaurants and a theater complex. The Nordstrom Rack store is on the second floor of the complex.