INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. - Detectives are investigating an armed robbery that occurred last week at a North Lake Tahoe gas station where a masked gunman fired a gunshot before fleeing with cash, officials confirmed Monday.
The robbery occurred at about 8:45 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 2, at the Incline Village Chevron gas station at 898 Tahoe Blvd., a manager with the business, Doug Brown, told the Bonanza in a Monday morning interview.
According to a press release issued a few hours later by the Washoe County Sheriff's Office, a male masked suspect discharged a "silver colored long barrel revolver inside the store," which had no patrons inside. The gunman fled with an undisclosed amount of money. The lone employee inside the store at the time was not hurt.
The suspect was last seen wearing a heavy blue jacket, blue pants and a red bandana over his face.
In a Monday afternoon phone interview, WCSO PIO Armando Avina said residents should not be concerned or feel threatened that there's "a person going out committing numerous armed robberies in Incline Village."
When asked why the office waited more than five days to inform the media and public of the incident, Avina said it was partly due to the ongoing detectives' investigation.
"Whenever there's an event like this, we don't immediately inform ... the public because it's possible some information could be detrimental to the investigation and to the ... potential prosecution," he said.
Once the suspect fled, the Chevron employee dialed 911, Brown told the Bonanza earlier Monday, and WCSO deputies responded "immediately." Brown declined to comment on specifics, due to the investigation, he said.
Following up on several news tips late last week of an armed robbery, the Bonanza spoke with a WCSO official on Friday on the phone and via email. Upon learning no information, the Bonanza also contacted two other WCSO officials Monday morning, leaving a message for one and speaking with another.
As of Monday morning, no one from WCSO could comment on the incident.
Prior to the Washoe press release coming out, Placer County Sheriff's Office Sgt. John Giovannini confirmed in a separate phone interview that the Incline Village incident had occurred last Wednesday.
He also confirmed an attempted robbery had occurred the evening of Saturday, Dec. 29, at Kings Beach Liquors (formerly Spirits of Tahoe) at 8645 North Lake Blvd. in Kings Beach. The suspect appeared to possess a handgun or "perhaps a revolver," Giovannini said, and was masked.
Giovannini said detectives with both sheriff's offices investigating the incidents believe they are related.
"We do believe they are connected, yes," he said.
On Monday, Avina confirmed Placer and Washoe are working together, and said both sides have yet to rule out the incidents could be related.
PCSO handles crimes in California's Placer County, while WCSO handles crimes in Nevada's Washoe County. The state line that splits Lake Tahoe separates the counties; Kings Beach, Calif., and Incline Village, Nev., are roughly four miles apart.
Anyone with information about the armed robbery is urged to call WCSO at 775-328-3336 or Secret Witness at 775-322-4900, or visit www.secretwitness.com.