Three men armed with rifles and a gun robbed Busboys and Poets in D.C.'s Mount Vernon Triangle neighborhood Sunday night, police said.
D.C. police said the robbery happened at about 9:30 p.m. at the business, a popular restaurant/bookstore at 450 K Street NW.
According to a police report, the three suspects walked together into the business, and one of the three approached the manager and asked her about a food order.
When the manager went to check on a possible order that had not been picked up, that suspect took out a gun from his waistband, asked her "Where is the money?" and ordered her to get on the ground, the report said.
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The victim threw the store's keys onto the floor, got on the ground and told the robber the money was in the back, the report said.
The employees ran to the back of the restaurant and were followed by two of the suspects, who according to the report had long guns.
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Two of the suspects then escaped through a back door and into an alley. The other man left through the front door, the report said.
The suspects fled with the store keys. No injuries were reported.
The group was last seen getting into a black Volvo sedan and heading eastbound on K Street NW and then southbound on 4th Street NW, according to police.
Andy Shallal, the owner of Busboys and Poets, told News4 he's thankful none of his employees were hurt.
"Luckily, everyone was physically safe. Of course, very traumatized during this horrific ordeal," he said.
Shallal said he believes this robbery is part of a bigger problem that's affecting the city and the rest of the nation.
"I think we have to understand this is a pandemic, what is happening. Not only as far as COVID is concerned, but also a pandemic of violence. It's happening here in D.C., it's happening throughout the country," he added.
"We need to figure out what is going on. You need opportunities. And when opportunities are taken away from them, and when they see the world is really crumbling before them, they see no hope and they revert to stupid things like this."
The investigation is ongoing.
Stay with NBCWashington.com on this developing story.