MIAMI (CBS4) — A veteran convenience store manager who along with his 16-year-old son was robbed of nearly $1,000 at gunpoint says he cooperated with the criminals because “the money can always come back.
“Thank God nothing happened,” said Rajaie Ali, the manager of Best Food Market on Northwest 2nd Avenue and 77th Street. “I’m glad nobody got hurt that day and the money can always come back.”
Ali spoke with CBS4’s Peter D’Oench as Miami Police released surveillance tape of the violent robbery that happened on Saturday, December 7th of last year as about 15 people were inside the store.
The dramatic tape is one more example of how convenience store work is one of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S.
Ali told D’Oench that he had only been working at the store for a week when it was robbed on Saturday, December 7th.
His 16-year-old son was in the store with him.
“I hope nobody will have to be in this position ever again,” said Ali. “I was scared for my life, my customers who were in here and my son’s life.”
Surveillance tape captures the gunmen bursting in to the store. One robber holds down Ali’s son and a third robber guards the front door.
The tape shows one gunman demanding cash from Ali and pulling out his cash drawer.
“He put a gun to my head and told me to lay down,” said Ali. “I cooperated with him all the way. He told me to open the cash, open the cash drawer and go back down. I laid back down. I gave him all the money I had. He took the whole tray and didn’t even bother to pick up the money.”
The gunman wanted more money.
“He asked me for the lotto money,” said Ali. “Where’s the lotto money. I told him I don’t have no lotto money.”
Ali was robbed while behind a counter with a glass shield around it.
“They were able to get in because I was doing some work and had left the door open,” Ali said.
Ali has four children between the ages of 6 and 14 and he said his wife was pregnant and expecting their fifth child.
Ali hopes the criminals will be caught.
“I would appreciate it if anybody who knows who they are can make a phone call to bring these people in,” he said.
Ali said, “I have managed convenience stores for some time but this is the first time that I have ever been robbed. I hope it’s the last time. I have to keep on working to support my family. So I am here at this store a lot.”
Miami Police Officer and spokeswoman Kenia Reyes said, “This could have taken a turn for the worse. Fortunately the manager was not hurt. One of them must have seen the camera. One of them lifted up his cap.”
“It said that this happened during the holiday season,” she said. “We can’t blame this on the holiday season. This trio knew what they were doing from the beginning.”
The surveillance tape shows the men storming in to the store and then fleeing. It also shows their getaway vehicle: an older model, white Chevrolet suburban with tinted windows.
According to Miami Police, the criminal who robbed Ali had a chrome handgun and threatened to put a bullet in his head.
Police described all three suspects as black males. They said the first robber is 5’7 to 5’9, 140 to 150 pounds and 20 to 28 years old. The second robber is 5’7 to 5’9, 175 to 190 pounds and 20 to 30 years old. The third suspect is 5’9 to 5’10, 160 pounds and 20 to 25-years-old.
Anyone with information on this case is urged to call Miami Police or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-tips (8477).