CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Police are looking for an apologetic robber - someone who claimed "hard times" were forcing him to steal.
This bandit waited until all other customers exited the High Life Smoke Shop on busy Central Avenue before he approached the clerk.
"He demanded the money and he gave her a little speech before, he said, 'I hate to do this, but I've got tough times going,' and that's when he told her give me the money," said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police (CMPD) Officer Tori Roddey.
He did not show a gun, but told the clerk he had one in his book bag.
When he left, he ran down the street to the Family Dollar store.
On surveillance, we catch him running up to the front.
"He stops when he gets in the door and walks in calmly," Officer Roddey pointed out.
Inside the Family Dollar, we can see him in his red shirt and milling about before taking a pack of t-shirts to the register. Instead of patiently waiting for his change, we see him on the phone and pacing.
Then came a surprise - he peels off his red shirt right in front of the cashier.
"As soon as he gets his change and receipt, he takes his shirt off, grabs the t-shirts, runs to the back of the store and actually changes right there," Roddey said.
Next, we see him walking out sporting his new white t-shirt. Officer Roddey says the man is about 5'5" tall with a high and tight, almost military-style haircut.
The clerk from the High Life Smoke Shop identified this man as the same one who robbed her.
Officer Roddey believes the man is probably a local and should be readily identifiable. If you know him, call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600. You can alleviate your hard times by earning a reward for anonymous information.