Gunman takes master key from hotel clerk, robs guests at Independence Quality Inn

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. - Several guests were robbed early Friday when a gunman took the master key from the clerk at the front desk of an Independence hotel.

According to police, the man entered the Quality Inn, 4200 S. Noland, around 12:40 a.m.

After taking $300 from the front desk clerk and attempting to get into a safe, hotel employees say the thief took the master key from the clerk, entered some rooms and robbed the people staying in them at gunpoint.

Surveillance video shows the crook making his way into Justin Milakovich's hotel room. Milakovich says he and his uncle were asleep when they heard someone come into the room. Both men assumed they were dreaming until a light switch was flipped on. Milakovich recalls the man pointing a gun at him and demanding cash.

"I just froze. I couldn't do anything myself. I got scared. I didn't know whether to get down and hide, but I figured he's already got the gun pointed at me and if I move he's probably going to shoot me", Milakovich explained, adding that he forgot to latch the reinforcing lock inside his room. He says the next thing he remembers was having a gun pointed right at him. His uncle cornered the gunman, and within moments, he left.

"How can you do this to somebody?", Milkovich said with disbelief, "I've never been held at gunpoint before and I hope to never be held there again. That's something serious and I don't wish that on anybody."

Independence police believe the thief may have had a getaway car at the Phillips 66 gas station next to the hotel. The man was able to escape before police arrived and got away with just $300.

The clerk, who told 41 Action News he was working his last shift before leaving on a mission trip to the Philippines, said the suspect was about 5 foot 10, wore all black and had a ski mask on.

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