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Gunman robs, binds Fort Worth theater workers

An assistant manager of a movie theater in southwest Fort Worth was startled early Tuesday when he came upon a masked man who had a theater employee under gunpoint.

The assistant manager and the worker had gone to the Starplex Cinema, 6330 Hulen Bend Blvd., to check on an alarm that had sounded about 8:30 a.m., police said.

The manager went upstairs. The worker went to check the lower level, but he was suddenly confronted by the muzzle of a large handgun -- and the man who was holding it.

"The suspect directed this employee to turn around," said Lt. Paul Henderson, police spokesman. "He then used a plastic tie wrap to bind [the employee's] wrists.

"Both the suspect and the employee then waited upstairs for the assistant manager to appear, which he did."

The assistant manager was startled and dropped cash drawers he had been carrying, Henderson said. The gunman ordered him to open the safe.

"The suspect tied his wrists and ankles," Henderson said. "He then tied the ankles of the other employee and left them both lying on the floor."

An unknown amount of cash was taken.

The two employees broke free of the plastic bindings and then ran to a nearby Whataburger, where they told four Tarrant County Constables what happened, Henderson said.

Police subsequently arrived to investigate.

"The alarm permit for the business is expired," Henderson said, "therefore police did not receive the call and did not respond to the alarm initially."

The employees said the robber, who wore a ski mask, was a white man in his early 30s, 5 feet, 10 inches tall and about 175 pounds.

They didn't have any more information about him, but police are sharing surveillance images of the heist with the media.

Anyone with information can call robbery detectives at 817-392-4370 or Crime Stoppers at 817-469-TIPS, Henderson said.