A suspect remained at large Wednesday night after robbing Hamlin Cleaners on Golden Gate Way in downtown Lafayette.
With neighbors on nearby First Street complaining of noises outside, police briefly evacuated families from two homes but did not find the suspect, said Lafayette Police Chief Eric Christensen. No injuries were reported.
Christensen, who was on the scene Wednesday night helping to interview witnesses, gave the following account:
An employee was in the process of closing the store at 7:15 p.m. The suspect confronted the employee at the side door that exits to a parking lot and forced him back inside. The suspect tried the safe and found it locked, then went to the cash register. At that point, the employee ran out of the store and phoned police. The suspect did not show a weapon.
The suspect, with an undisclosed amount of cash, fled south on First Street. Police drew a perimeter around the area and searched. Lafayette police were assisted by Moraga PD, Orinda PD, a police dog unit from Concord PD and the sheriff's helicopter with heat-sensing equipment.
The police dog picked up a scent near Lafayette Elementary School on Moraga Road, but police were unable to locate the suspect.
The suspect is described as a black man in his 20s, about 5-foot-10, wearing a red-and-blue jersey and dark shorts.
"There's nothing to make me believe that he's in the area now," Christensen said on the sidewalk near Hamlin Cleaners at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Christensen asked citizens, if they saw anything out of place or a suspicious vehicle, to call Lafayette police at (925) 283-5010 or (925) 283-3680, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.