Stoneham minimart owner thwarts armed robbery attempt

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November 12, 2012, 9:39 pm
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(NECN: Alysha Palumbo - Stoneham, Mass.) - So far, there have been six robberies in four towns linked together, and police say they believe the suspect is casing convenience stores one and waiting until there's only one clerk in the store to come in and try to rob them.

The latest victim: Saadat Khan, who said it was just after 9 p.m. on Sunday, and his mini-mart C-Store on Main Street in Stoneham was empty except for him.

"I was here cleaning and I turn around, there was a gun on my face and there was a guy standing with a mask and everything all wearing black,” Khan said.

He said through his faith in God, he remained calm and tried to talk the armed suspect out of his store.
 
Khan said, "He asked me to open the register, I said no, it's not going to happen so then he pulled the gun and he said I'm going to shoot you."
 
Behind the counter, Khan had a cup of chili powder he sprinkles on his food, and instead of handing over the money, he reached for that.
 
Khan said, "So I threw it on his face, and I punched him once, so I think he got the message, then he ran out and I ran after him."
 
The suspect got away, but police in Stoneham have been able to link this attempted robbery with two other armed robberies in town, as well as three separate robberies in Melrose, Woburn and Winchester over the past two weeks.
 
Stoneham Police Detective Chris Dalis said, "We have been able to connect them all through several factors -- the way he's committing the robberies, the way he's dressed, by video surveillance and looking at what he looks like."
 
Dalis says the suspect appears to be dressed in the exact same outfit every time -- black running pants and sweatshirt, black mask and baseball hat, black sneakers with white soles.
 
"It's unusual for a suspect to do this many robberies in such a short amount of time, we're obviously concerned because he's armed, he has a handgun, he's obviously desperate because he's been committing so many of them," Dalis said.
 
Khan is hopeful this suspect will be caught so he no longer terrorizes convenience store owners in the area.
 
"We're just trying to survive, we don't have enough business right now, we can't even pay our own bills and things like that, that's why people like me take actions," Khan said.
 
Police say several of these robberies were caught on tape and they're asking anyone with any information to give them a call, but they say the suspect should be considered armed and dangerous.

Tags: massachusetts, NECN, robbery, Stoneham , Alysha Palumbo
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