Sketch released of stationery store robber

September 11, 2008 6:02:26 PM PDT
Police on Thursday released a sketch of the man wanted in connection with a stationery store shooting during a robbery on Long Island last week. Police are hoping someone will recognize the man, shown with and without a do-rag. Meanwhile, the 69-year-old clerk shot in the stomach by the robber regained consciousness Thursday in the hospital, asking what happened and where he was. Now, his nephew, who called 911, spoke about the terrifying incident.

"'Give me money, give me money,'" Penksus Mehta said the armed robber kept saying. "He took it. My uncle handed it over, and he took it and still fired."

Mehta watched the man terrorize and shoot his uncle last Friday afternoon, despite getting the cash he demanded. It happened inside a popular stationery store known for passing on good fortune with its winning lottery tickets.

Detectives call the daylight shooting one of the most heinous robberies in memory.

"The gun goes off, and he sees his uncle drop to the floor," detective lieutenant Ray Cote said. "And the man we are looking for runs out of the store."

Thursday afternoon, police released their first composite sketch, based on numerous accounts of the gunman. They are asking for help in finding the man.

They believe he's a local resident. Authorities searched into the night last week for the gunman, but didn't get far, leaving behind the fear in the stationery store and across the community that it could happen again.

"He was handing over the money, and with that, he gets shot," Cote said. "It's tragic."

The store clerk is still in critical condition, but is now conscious. He is expected to make a full recovery. He ran the stationery store for more than two decades and had never been robbed before.

Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-244-TIPS. A $2,000 reward has been offered. All calls will be kept confidential.

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STORY BY: Long Island reporter Emily Smith

WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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