Two masked gunmen forced a pair of Hooters employees into an industrial freezer Monday morning and then robbed the business, Tacoma police said.
The employees a janitor and the restaurant manager broke the freezer lock and called for help about 7:25 a.m.
Police estimate the janitor, who had been locked up the longest, was in the freezer more than an hour.
He had finished his shift about 6 a.m. but returned to the restaurant at 6812 Tacoma Mall Blvd. because he forgot to finish a task, police said. He left the door unlocked behind him as he hurried in to work on the paper towel rack, police spokeswoman Loretta Cool said.
Two men wearing masks and carrying handguns entered through the unlocked door and forced the janitor into the freezer at gunpoint. They then waited for the manager to arrive.
After taking the managers cellphone, wallet and keys, the robbers stole money from the restaurant and fled.
The victims were able to throw their weight against the locked door which was secured with a pen and break it open. They were not hurt.
Both robbers are described as black men wearing masks. One was about 5 feet 10 and 225 pounds and wore a gray hooded sweatshirt, black pants and black shoes.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653