Masked Gunmen Get $3,000 In Robbery/Assault At Cliff Bells In Downtown Detroit

December 16, 2013, 5:12 PM

Three gunmen wearing ski masks stormed Cliff Bells early Sunday morning, assaulted an employee and made off with $3,000 and a 2005 Chrysler Pacifica.

Cliff Bell's on Park Avenue is named for John Clifford Bell, who ran a Detroit speakeasy during Prohibition and legal clubs in later decades. (Photo by Michael Doyle)

The employee was taking out trash behind the popular restaurant on Park Avenue around 4 a.m. when the gunmen approached and forced him back inside, according to Detroit police.

They then assaulted the employee and robbed him and patrons inside the bar, police said. The perpetrators took the car from one of the customers and fled. 

Ashleigh Laabs, director of marketing at Cliff Bells, wasn't able to confirm the amount taken, but said most of the stolen cash came from the restaurant.

The employee who was assaulted suffered an eye injury but it was not serious, she said.  

George Hunter of the Detroit News reports the Bells robbery was one of at least 160 crimes that have been reported downtown since Nov. 1, according to the Detroit Police crime mapping system.

In addition to 10 other robberies during that period, there were 28 assaults, 13 vehicle thefts and 72 larcenies from vehicles downtown, which is defined as a one-mile radius from Kennedy Square, Hunter writes.

The restaurant, widely known for its jazz, is normally closed on Mondays, but was open Sunday and will be open as usual Tuesday at 4 p.m.

-- Bill McGraw

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