Clerk lucky to be alive after robbery

Published: Jun. 26, 2011 at 10:24 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 27, 2011 at 1:46 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Police are looking for a man they say tried to rob a dry cleaners, then actually robbed a nearby gas station.

It all started at Organic Cleaners on Cox Road in the West End.

After he walked away empty handed, the suspect robbed the Shell gas station a few miles away.

The clerk says he never thought he'd be robbed in broad daylight.

A man walked in and showed the clerk a gun in his waistband. No shots were fired and the robber got away, but the clerk says he knows this could have ended much worse.

Abie Jaffer is back to work less than 24 hours after he was robbed. Most people know Jaffer simply as AJ.

He says he was rearranging a few items on display when a man walked into the convenience store. AJ says he never dreamed the man walking in was going to rob him.

"I was like, this cannot be happening." Jaffer said.  "This doesn't look like a robbery. I've seen it in the videos, I've seen it in the movies, on TV, this is not it. This is some joke."

Surveillance video shows the unidentified man pulling up his shirt and showing the clerk the butt of a gun in his waistband.

AJ says he initially stalled in the hopes the robber would get impatient and leave, but then a young boy walked in, oblivious to the robbery going on right in front of him.

"I just delayed because he was not pushing," he said.  "When he started to do that, I was like, OK, that's it. Let me give him the money."

AJ put the money from the cash register in a bag and the robber calmly walked away.

He says he's worked in convenient stores in more dangerous neighborhoods, but this is the first time he's ever been robbed. He's only worked at this Shell station in the West End for a month.

He says he couldn't sleep after the robbery, but he knew he had to move on and come back to work Sunday.

"I can't let this slow me down," he said.  "Things are going to happen."

He knows he's lucky he wasn't shot during the robbery. AJ says it was simply not his time to die.

"I feel really blessed, really lucky," he said.  "I think I made the right decision."

The robber was wearing a hat with the letters "VA" on it and a shirt saying "Brooklyn."

He got away with several hundred dollars.

If you have any information about this robbery, you're asked to call Crime Stoppers at 780-1000.

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