MIAMI(CBSMiami) – Miami Police are searching for a vicious robber who thrashed a veteran convenience store clerk with a metal pipe and fled with a cash register.
Surveillance video, obtained by CBS4, showed the struggle between the clerk and the robber.
Earlier Tuesday, that clerk is spoke out, saying he fought back but was struck as many as 25 times with the pipe during the robbery that happened just after 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Valero Food Mart at 78th Street and Biscayne Boulevard.
“Now I’m feeling a lot of pain in my body,” said 48-year-old Arif Chowdhury. Chowdhury told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “He skipped out. I came all the way outside the store. I couldn’t keep him back. So he ran away.”
Chowdhury’s boss estimated the cash register had about $300 in it.
“He asked me for money and before I could give him the money he started hitting me all over the head,” he said. “I fought him back. He kept hitting me and hitting me. I didn’t want him to leave the store. That’s why I fought him.”
CBS4 exclusively obtained surveillance footage which did show just how violent the struggle was between the two.
“I’ve been doing this, working at convenience stores and gas stations for the past 17 years,” he said. “I have been attacked before. But this is the worst it’s ever been. He hit me 20 to 25 times or more.” Chowdhury said, “He hit me here on the side by my eye, causing these cuts. He hit me around the head and behind my head. He kept hitting me until I fell down on the ground so he could rob the store.”
“He was a Hispanic male, who was white and spoke a little English and was heavy set. If you see him, call the police so they can arrest him,” said Chowdhury.
Chowdhury also said he would return to work on Wednesday.
“No this will not slow me down,” he said. “I’ll be back to work tomorrow morning. This could have been worse. But I am ok. Thank God I am ok.”
Chowdhury, who has four children, held a cloth to the left side of his battered face for a few hours at the crime scene, where he was consoled by his wife and step-daughter.
“This was wrong,” said his wife Lisa Choy. “He usually comes to work and there are no problems. I just hope they catch whoever did this so it won’t happen again.”
Chowdhury’s step-daughter, Anessa Hernandez, told D’Oench, “I think this is very bad that this had to happen. He didn’t deserve this. He’s a good person. This was wrong.”
Miami Police detectives retrieved surveillance tape from the store and will determine if the suspect was captured by the store’s cameras.
Leon Laster, a witness, told D’Oench the suspect was a “big stocky guy.” He said, “I made sure I got the license plate number and the make and model of the car.”
Miami Police spokeswoman, Officer Frederica Burden told D’Oench the suspect is about 5’10” inches tall, 250 pounds and is bald and “clean shaven.” She said he took off from the scene in a stolen, 1998 red Jeep Cherokee with a Florida license tag of 371-WVX.
Anyone who can help is urged to call Miami Police or Miami-Dade Crimestoppers at (305) 471-tips (8477).