Los Angeles police on Thursday released surveillance video of a taco truck being robbed at gunpoint in South L.A. last month as they seek to identify the three perpetrators seen in the footage.
The food truck was parked in the 1300 block of West Manchester Avenue in the overnight hours of July 14 when the three men entered and demanded money from the workers, according to a Los Angeles Police Department news release.
They forced the two employees to the ground and attempted to gain access to the safe. But when they were unable to open it, the armed men turned their attention back to the workers, demanding their personal property, including cellphones and cash, police said.
"We believe that the suspects were there for the cash in the truck," said Detective Jerry Gibson. "However, they couldn't gain access to the safe in the truck, so they robbed the employees, unfortunately, instead."
One of the victims was pistol-whipped during the incident, according to LAPD.
The robbers then fled the taco truck with the victims' property, but it was unknown what direction they headed.
Authorities did not release any detailed suspect descriptions, describing them as two black men and one Hispanic man, all in their 20s; none had any distinctive physical features, police said in the release.
KTLA spoke to victims, who were back on the job Thursday night, but they were still so frightened that they didn't want to disclose much.
Luis Martinez, who runs taco truck nearby, said he's also been targeted by thieves looking for quick cash.
"This is something serious," he said through a translator. "Working in restaurants like this, things like this happen when you least expect it."
Martinez said since food trucks usually operate late into the night and early in the morning, it's important to take precautions and be aware of one's surroundings.
"We look for anything suspicious," he said. "That's why we have these cameras."
LAPD expressed hope that releasing video of Thursday's incident will lead to the identification and arrests of the three sought individuals.
Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Kenneth Williams of LAPD's 77th Street Robbery Squad at 323-786-5422. Investigators can also be contacted during non-business hours and weekends by dialing 1-877-527-3247.
Those wishing to leave a tip anonymously can call L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.