CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Late night convenience store stick-ups are commonplace. What's not so usual is when customers walk in on a robbery-in-progress without realizing it.
On the Tuesday before Christmas, at a gas station just off Glenwood and I-85, a well-disguised man is seen walking from the backside of the store to the front on surveillance.
When he gets to the front door, he bursts through with a silver handgun drawn, then opens the door to the register counter.
"It was perfect timing for this particular guy this night," said CMPD Detective Brandon Miller.
Perfect because the clerks had the cash drawer out counting the money. Suddenly, the door opens and the bad guy surprises them.
"It almost appears that they were in a bit of a shift change because you see one employee take the entire cash drawer out of the register and go over to the side as if he's going to count it."
The masked man points a silver revolver, demanding money. And that revolver is unusual for crimes like this.
"Most guys use semi-automatics. This guy must have put a little thought into it because nine times out of ten revolvers don't leave shell casings, which makes it hard for us to identify a suspect."
After taking cash from the clerks, we also see him peel off a wad of lottery tickets. Seconds later, he's got his head down, rummaging under the counter while a customer walks up. That customer is unaware of the robbery in progress.
But it doesn't bother the crook, he keeps looking for something.
"We think he's looking for more cash, or he's possibly looking for lottery tickets."
And that's exactly what he walked out with.
"Got away with about a thousand dollars in cash and a handful of lottery tickets."
Because stolen lottery tickets are reported to the game commission, they are useless.
Police describe this bandit as light-skinned, about 6'2", with a mask and hoodie and black cargo pants.
If you think you know who he is and want to earn a nice reward without giving your name, call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.