The robber — described as being about 30 years old, 5-foot-10, 180 pounds with a medium build, and wearing a handkerchief over his mouth and nose — fled unseen with about $250 in cash before police arrived, according to the police report.
The clerk, who was working alone in the building at the time, told police he returned to the hotel's lobby after getting coffee in a backroom to find the robber pointing a semi-automatic handgun at him.
The robber then said, "This is a hold up," and jumped over the counter, according to police reports.
After taking about $250 from the cash register, the robber asked where the hotel's safe was located. When the clerk said the building did not have one, the robber reportedly dragged him near a storage closet and ordered him down on the floor. When the clerk refused, the robber punched him in the face, forcing him on the ground, according to the report.
The clerk was then tied up with duct tape before the robber rummaged through the hotel's back offices, Balian said.
The clerk was eventually able to "wiggle out" of the tape and run out of the lobby and onto East Colorado Street, where he yelled for help, Balian said.
A few seconds later, the robber emerged from the lobby and calmly walked away from the building for a few yards before running southbound through the parking lot between 1524 and 1530 E. Colorado St., according to police reports.
That's when the clerk ran back inside the lobby and called police, Balian said.
"[The clerk] was lucky," Balian said. "This suspect meant business."
Police were unable to find the robber when they responded to the call at about 6:52 a.m.
The clerk, who did not seek medical treatment, was visibly shaken when police arrived, according to police reports.
A manager at the hotel said the clerk was a little sore, but OK.
The robber must either be a repeat offender or had planned the attack in advance, based on the method of the assault and his apparent calm demeanor, Balian said.
"It certainly didn't appear he was rushing," he said.
Anyone with information about the incident can call Glendale Police at (818) 548-4840 or the Crime Stoppers anonymous tip hotline at (818) 507-7867.
JASON WELLS covers public safety and the courts. He may be reached at (818) 637-3232 or by e-mail at jason.wellslatimes.com.