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Wal-Mart store evacuated after report of gunman

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POSTED December 26, 2012 12:39 a.m.

MORENO VALLEY  (AP) — A Wal-Mart in Southern California was evacuated Monday after shoppers say they saw a man dressed in a black trench coat enter the store with what appeared to be an assault rifle or shotgun, authorities said.

Moreno Valley Police responded to a robbery call after the man entered the store just before 6 a.m. a man carrying an unknown weapon and asked to speak to a manager, Riverside County sheriff’s Deputy Alfonso Campa said.

The suspect commanded the manager to open the safe, but fled after someone on the store’s public address system announced the store was being robbed.

The suspect escaped before the safe was opened, and without taking any money or merchandise. He has not been identified.

Witnesses told investigators the man was carrying a weapon, but it was but authorities are unsure if it was real or a replica.

There were no shots fired and no reports of any injuries. Nothing was stolen from the store.

It’s unclear if the man spoke to the manager or if he had any other intent, Morales said. Investigators searched the area and were unable to find the man. The store was evacuated for several hours as a precaution and later reopened.

“We’re cloudy right now as to what transpired,” Morales said.

Investigators planned to review surveillance tapes to determine what happened and hadn’t ruled out that the man may have wanted to buy ammunition.

Moreno Valley is about 60 miles east of Los Angeles.

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