Man robs St. Petersburg store using rifle

Robber using rifle sought by St. Pete Police

The Hungry Baba convenience store at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street South and 18th Avenue South is a popular neighborhood place. Randy Porter works as a cook.

"The majority of the people that I meet here day in and day out are always really friendly. I mean, it's a very friendly neighborhood. Everybody usually looks out for everybody," Porter said.

St. Petersburg Police Department are looking for a man caught on security camera who burst into the Hungry Baba with a rifle and robbed the clerk.

"It's kind of a blitz-type attack where basically they come in masked. They've got the gun. They're very demanding. Obviously they're taking the clerk off guard not only with the weapon, but they're acting very quickly," said Mike Puetz, St. Petersburg Police spokesman.

Police also want to talk to a man also captured on the store's cameras and are seeking the public's help in identifying him. He came into the store about 30 minutes before the robbery and inquired about a cigar before leaving.

Police believe the gun may be an assault rifle and are eager to get the robber in custody. 

"That's another thing, like no witnesses? Nobody was really able to say, 'Hey, it's this guy for sure?'  I mean, the guy was able to just walk right in, walk right around here, up to the side here with an assault rifle and nobody had the courage to try and say anything or stop him," Porter said.

Puetz echoed the need for people to come forward.

"It would be great if people would put the community first, not operate behind this idea of 'don't work with the police,' or that kind of issue, and come forward and talk to us," he said.  

Store owners said the robber made off with about $800 in cash. The clerk was unharmed.

"This concerns me very much. I hate to see them get robbed because they're not just store people, they're my friends," said Honorie Jackson, a customer who comes to the store daily.

"He could have took someone's life. Someone could have gotten hurt in there. So whoever it was, whoever it is,  I hope they catch him," he said.

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