Honolulu police are looking for three suspects involved in a robbery early Friday morning at Kahala Mall.
One of the victims says all of them were wearing masks, like the one in the movie "Scream."
Police say just after 12:30 a.m., three suspects walked up to a car parked near the old bowling alley. Two of the four occupants in the car were assaulted, and one of the suspects's guns went off inside the car, police said.
We spoke by phone to one of the victims in the Kahala robbery. He did not want to be identified, but said at first, he thought it was a prank. He and three other friends were parked in the lot when a dark-colored SUV blocked his path.
Three masked suspects wearing black clothing and gloves got out of the SUV armed with guns and a rifle. He thought it was a joke.
"I thought maybe it was friends trying to joke and pull a prank. They came up to the window. They pistol-whipped me in the face. That's when everything turned real," the victim said.
The victim said he and his friend in the passenger seat were physically assaulted and robbed. Two victims in the backseat were not hurt.
Then a gun went off into the car. We're told that's when the suspects ran off. Shaken, the victims called police.
"Later on, when the detective went through everything, the guy behind my friend, he had a hole in his pants where the bullet went through," said the victim. "It hit his money in his pocket."
With Halloween right around the corner, police fear there will be copycat crimes, and the public needs to stay alert. They say it's common for thieves to conceal their faces, so in order for police to catch the suspects, those victimized have to be aware of their surroundings as much as possible.
Sgt. Kim Buffett of CrimeStoppers tell us that victims of masked robberies often become so focused on the masks, they forget other clues that can help police find the suspects -- like height, hair and eye color, voice accents, jewelry, tattoos, and any mannerisms that may seem unusual.
"We live in a community where people are aware of other people," she explained. "Mannerisms are noted. I'm sure if I saw somebody I knew robbing a store, I'd say wait a minute, I know that walk. ... Anything that's going to give us a little clue when we put it out there. Somebody recognizes the way they walk, talk, or that person can say 'My friend has that scarf,' we know for sure that's our suspect."
The victim says he made sure to look for other clues. "All were wearing black T-shirts, all wearing gloves, but the masks was most obvious. ... I tried to memorize as much detail of the vehicle they were driving," he told KHON2.
He says he and his friends are recovering from the traumatic ordeal, but urges the public to stay alert.
Police opened a first-degree robbery case. No arrests have been made at this time.
Police also tell us they are investigating two other recent robberies involving masked suspects. There is no word whether those robberies are related to Friday's Kahala case.