Receptionists foil attempted robbery

Immediate Care employees’ quick action stops thief

A man walked into Immediate Care Medical Center in Chico on Sunday (Jan. 19) apparently not in search of medical attention, but rather cash. According to a Chico Police Department press release, at about 7 p.m., Daniel Ruggiero, 37, entered the outpatient clinic on the 300 block of Vallombrosa Avenue and asked the receptionists to call him a cab.

He then asked how many employees were working and how many patients they had. Ruggiero reportedly told the receptionists to get a little girl who was in the lobby out of there, because something bad was about to happen.

“That’s probably what saved us,” said receptionist Michelle Genoba, “because it gave me the opportunity to go down the hallway and call 911.”

As soon as Genoba left, Ruggiero allegedly began demanding money while pretending to hold a gun under a sweater.

“If you scream and don’t give me the money, I’m going to shoot you,” the man reportedly said to receptionist Rebecca Ruiz (pictured).

Ruggiero grabbed Ruiz, and receptionist Ana Salamanca got up, pushed Ruiz aside, handed him the cash box and said, “If you want the money, just take it and leave us.”

At that point, unaware of the supposed gun, Genoba said she came back and began wrestling with Ruggiero. When Ruggiero dropped the sweater, Salamanca said she noticed that he didn’t have a gun and began wrestling with him as well and helped force him to the ground. Upon hearing the commotion, X-ray technician Kent Rankin and medical assistant Juan Sanchez came out and helped hold Ruggiero down until police arrived.

“What really might have helped us is that we’re best friends,” said Genoba. “I was scared he was going to hurt [Salamanca] and she was scared he was going to hurt me.”