Police were searching for a woman who pointed a gun at an outlet bakery store cashier during an attempted robbery Wednesday afternoon.
Police are asking two female witnesses to come forward with any information about the incident. The women are believed to have been in the store before the gunwoman brandished her weapon.
The attempted robbery turned into a three-hour ordeal as police stood outside the building, pushed gawkers back repeatedly and waited for tactical officers to sweep the building.
Witnesses told police that at about 3:15 p.m. the woman, described as a 40-year-old Asian wearing a straw hat, entered the bakery in the 800 block of West Pipeline Road and walked around until all the customers had left, Assistant Police Chief Steve Niekamp said.
The woman then approached the counter and pointed a gun at the cashier and demanded money. The cashier ran to the back of the store, Niekamp said. It is unclear if the woman stole any cash, police said.
The gunwoman ran toward the back of the store when a customer walked in the door, witnesses told police, Niekamp said.
When police were called to the scene, the cashier, another employee and the customer had departed safely.
About 5 p.m., eight members of the SWAT team crept through the back door of the store while at least four officers waited, guns pointed, at the front. When police didn't find the gunwoman hiding inside, they tied police tape across the front of the store and began to sweep the store for evidence.
Leo Argueta, manager of the nearby store Quilter's Stash, heard the TV helicopters and knew something was up. As he walked to the front of his store, officers with their guns drawn motioned for him to stay inside, he said. Argueta locked the door, shutting several shoppers inside, he said.
"This is a quilt shop," he said. "Nothing like this really goes on around here."
Staff writer Candace Carlisle contributed to this report.