NORTH MIAMI (CBS4) – A North Miami smoke shop clerk credits a quick-thinking customer with helping her fight off a would-be robber.
Police are looking for the man who tried to rob the Laughing Buddha Smoke Shop at 12404 Biscayne Blvd. on Sunday, August 14th.
Surveillance video released Tuesday shows the store employee, Kayla Seaks, and a customer scuffling with the man who demanded cash from the register.
Seaks had only been working at the shop for about a week.
The customer asked not to be identified.
“He was more trying to protect me,” Seaks told CBS 4’s Lauren Pastrana. “After everything happened, he was like, ‘I just wanted you to get out. Be safe.'”
Seaks said she was about to close up shop when a man walked in.
She said he seemed a bit nervous before he made his move.
“He keeps saying ‘open the register’. He’s putting his hands in his pants, imitating a gun, like he has a weapon,” Seaks said. “There was no gun in sight.”
Despite the possible threat, Seaks said a customer in the shop stuck around.
Instead of running for safety, he sprinted in to action.
“The customer said at first he thought he was joking. Just being in shock. Nothing like this has ever happened before,” Seaks explained.
At one point in the video, the customer is seen punching the bad guy.
Seaks called 911. You can see her on surveillance hunched over with her cell phone in her hand.
While she dialed, the video shows the man grabbing her by the back of her hooded sweatshirt.
Police said the man in the video is connected to other crimes in the North Miami area.
“The clothing worn, the description being given, and the fact that he implies he has a firearm. Whether or not he has one we’re not sure,” North Miami Police Major Neal Cuevas said. “That’s one of the reason we believe this person is involved in some of these other robberies.”
While cops don’t always recommend fighting back to this extent, Seaks said her instincts told her not to back down.
She’s just glad the customer was there to back her up.
“Things like that happen and you have to learn from and think what can I do next time,” Seaks said.
No one was seriously hurt, and surprisingly, despite all the glass in the store, nothing was damaged.
If you have information about the attempted robbery, call Miami-Dade Crimestoppers at 305-471-TIPS (8477).
You can remain anonymous.