San Diego police search for suspects in Savers 99 Cents Store armed robbery

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A shoplifting incident escalated into an armed confrontation last month at a San Diego discount store, and police Thursday sought the public's help to locate two female suspects in the case, including one who allegedly held a gun to a store employee's head before he tackled her and wrestled away the firearm.

Police identified the suspects as 25-year-old Ariel Burrus and 22-year-old Irene Lee. The two were allegedly trying to steal several items on Dec. 13 from the Savers 99 Cents Store in the 4100 block of University Avenue when a store employee confronted them and blocked the store's exit.

The employee demanded that Lee show him what she was trying to steal, but both women were uncooperative, San Diego police robbery unit Lt. Eric Hays said.

"Burrus tried shoving her way past the employee, but was unsuccessful," Hays said. "Burrus then pulled out a small caliber revolver from the back of her waistband and pointed it at the back of the employee's head ... cocked back the hammer and said 'let us go.'"

The employee instead turned and tackled Burrus to the ground while taking the revolver from her, Hays said. Lee tried kicking the employee while he tangled with Burrus on the ground, and the combative woman on the ground demanded the gun back, but the employee grasped the firearm until both women fled.

Burrus allegedly told the employee that she would come back and kill him, Hays said.

Lee is black, roughly 5 feet 8 and 130 pounds. Burrus is black, 5 feet 4, 140 pounds, with a shaved head.

Investigators identified the two women from evidence left at the scene and asked anyone who knows their whereabouts to call the SDPD's Robbery Unit at (619) 531-2299, San Diego County Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477 or contact the agency online at sdcrimestoppers.org. Tipsters may remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

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