BRENTWOOD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Authorities are looking for a would-be robber who was chased out of a Brentwood deli by a machete-wielding clerk, Suffolk County police said.
As CBS 2’s Steve Langford reported, it happened on Sept. 25 at the Stop & Shop Deli on Crooked Hill Road. Police said a man wearing a mask walked into the deli, pulled out a gun and demanded money.
In surveillance video of the incident, the suspect is seen holding open a black bag as he fires a shot into the wall, police said.
But that did not intimidate the clerk. Appearing to be unfazed by the robbery, he pulled a large machete from under the counter and chased the suspect out of the store, police said.
The suspect took off empty-handed.
Store owner Elena Alvarado said she got the machete a month ago. She said her store has been broken into at least a dozen times.
“Very scared because this can happen again,” she told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera.
A fellow clerk said his co-worker did not realize the gun was real.
“He thought it was a fake gun – it was a very small gun, so that’s why he reacted like that,” said Walter Martinez, who also works as a clerk at the deli.
Martinez said his machete-wielding colleague is taking a few days off, apparently more wary of TV cameras than armed robbers.
“He don’t want to talk. He don’t want to show up,” Martinez said.
The debate over the wisdom of chasing an armed assailant with a big blade was prompting mixed feelings at the store Monday night.
“In some part, we’re proud of him, but in some way he risked his life,” Martinez said.
Police did not advise the clerk’s course of action.
Added Suffolk County police Lt. Kevin Beyrer, “The clerk in this case got very lucky.”
“If a man with a gun fires the gun at, you it is probably best to comply with his demands and give the money up than take your chances,” Beyrer said.
Store staff said they no longer have the machete behind the counter – a fact that can only be verified perhaps by the next armed robber to walk in.
Police describe the suspect as a young black man with a thin build, approximately 5-feet-10-inches tall.
He was wearing a gray mask, a black running-style top with white stripes on the sleeves, dark pants and black and white sneakers, police said. He was carrying a black Air Jordan backpack and a silver .22 caliber pistol.
Suffolk County Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.
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