Red Lion Inn employee recounts moment suspect robbed her at gunpoint, points out safety concerns

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Independence police continue to search for a man who may have robbed a number of hotels near Noland Road and I-70.

One of the hotel's former employees says she came face to face with him -- and it could have been avoided.

"A guy came in, and he ran up to the front desk and put a gun in my face," she said.

The former employee at the Red Lion Inn in Independence said her worst fear came true. She asked to conceal her identity for her safety since police are still searching for a suspect.

On Aug. 11 another employee at the Red Lion Inn was held up around 7:30 a.m. Two days later on the 13th the same thing happened at the Quality Inn next door.

"So we started locking the doors and just letting people in on an individual basis, and the general manager found out, and he threatened to fire us," she said.

The woman said the Red Lion Inn's general manager found out what she and another employee were doing and told them both on the 29th it was a fire hazard to lock the doors. The GM threatened to fire her.

Two days after, on the 31st, she said she found a gun in her face at 2:30 a.m. She said at the time she was the only employee in the entire hotel.

"I just gave him everything in the drawer," she said. "We have pepper spray sitting there, but how are you going to pepper spray someone with a gun in your face?"

Independence police said the area of Noland Road and I-70 has seen an uptick in crime.

"At this point we’re still attempting to identify who the suspect is," Officer Matt McLaughlin said. "We’re not sure of like a name or anything like that, so once we’re able to get that our detectives will put together a plan to get him into custody."

McLaughlin said they encourage businesses to have surveillance and take as many security measures as they can.

"After hours, for one, at a certain time there should probably be a time where the lobby door would close and the people would have to be buzzed in to get in," McLaughlin said. "That way people don’t have free reign of your lobby after hours."

The woman said she quit two days after the incident and never went back. She heard from former coworkers after what happened to her they did get a security guard.

"My coworkers, I hope something gets done or they can find another job, because it’s not safe," she said.

"It’s important that we get people like this off the street, and it’s important to provide justice to those who have been robbed in a fashion like this," McLaughlin said.

FOX4 reached out to the Red Lion Inn multiple times in an attempt to get in touch with the general manager, but they have not returned our request for comment at the time of this article.

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