Broad Ripple-area bar robbed during business hours

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A shocking crime in the Broad Ripple area: armed robbers burst into Binkley's restaurant Wednesday night, ordered customers on the floor and stole cash.

Police say three men robbed the Binkley's Kitchen & Bar at the corner of Kessler Boulevard E. Drive and N. College Avenue on the north side of Indianapolis just after eleven o'clock Wednesday night. 

Police say the men entered the building and announced that they were robbing the business. They said that the suspects forced the people inside the bar to lay on the ground. The suspects took cash from some of the customers. They also took money from the cash register. 

One person who was inside at the time of the robbery said that the suspects displayed handguns. Police say they aren't certain how much cash was stolen.

Police said that the men were wearing bandannas and hoodies, but could not provide any further description. There are no suspects in custody at this time.

It was a frightening situation in the popular north side restaurant that has left many in the area scared and puzzled. Nearby store owners report some problems with vandalism, but nothing like the level of violent crime witnessed Wednesday night.

"I'm very frightened.  I really and truly am," said Heidi Nightingale, who lives just a few blocks away. She's a regular at Binkleys.

"I probably know some of the people there lat night. I'm just horrified. It's getting too close to home," she said.

Angie Mercer was one of the dozen people inside. She talked to us on the phone.

"I heard a noise and a guy jumped over the bar and then a guy walked in behind him and had a bandanna across his face and a gun in his hand," she said.

Mercer initially thought it was a Halloween prank.

"I thought, 'Really, this can't be happening." He told everyone to get on the floor and lay flat on the floor and we did. The guy kept yelling, 'Where's the manager? We want the manager!' I heard the bartender say. 'I just don't want to get shot. Just don't shoot me,'" she said.

Mercer says the three took what money they could and left. While no one was hurt, Mercer and others were obviously shaken.

"Never would have thought people would come in here; three people with guns, that's pretty bold," she said.

Elizabeth Marshall heads the Broad Ripple Village Association. She says while the areas dealt with break-ins and vandalism, they haven't seen anything like this.

"It's gut-wrenching. This is a locally owned restaurant, a cherished place where a lot of people come to have dinner," she said. "We worry for the whole city. These issues happening through city and that concerns us on behalf of whole city. Not just our neighborhoods, but other neighborhoods as well."

It's also a worry for nearby businesses.

"A customer texted us early this morning and asked us to keep the doors safe, locked the back door. Just gonna have everyone come in from the front door," said Megan Hanna, who owns a store across the street. She says she's worked there for 13 years and has "never had a major issue." With all the traffic through the busy intersection, Hanna said she's always felt relatively safe at that location, but admits that the armed robbery at Binkley's was "a little jarring."

Indianapolis Metro Police detectives will also be looking at surveillance video.