Reporting Ken MacLeod
ROWLEY (CBS) – The bandaged hands make simple chores awkward for store clerk S.K. Ahmed — but they cover the stitched wounds he suffered trying to fend off a wild-eyed, knife-wielding robber.
“I’m pretty sure he wanted to kill me,” says the battered immigrant from Bangladesh.
It was just before closing time on Wednesday night at Skip’s Country Store on Route 133 in Rowley, when a would-be customer plopped a six pack of Mike’s Hard Lemonade on the counter and complained the sandwiches weren’t fresh.
WBZ-TV’s Ken MacLeod reports
“He told me ‘That’s not good!’” says Ahmed.
The next thing Ahmed knew, the argumentative customer had scurried around behind the counter — brandishing a knife. And when he couldn’t figure out how to open the cash register, the frustrated robber started slashing at Ahmed with a 6-inch folding knife.
Ahmed deflected the jabs with his hands, slicing them open to the tune of more than a dozen stitches.
“I started thinking about my life,” Ahmed says.
Indeed, when the bloodied clerk opened the register his attacker only got madder, punching Ahmed in the face several times, while insisting there had to be more cash. He asked for the lottery money, and didn’t like it when Ahmed explained he doesn’t have the combination to the safe.
“His movements, his behavior — very, very crazy!” says Ahmed.
The guy fled with almost $1300, ordering Ahmed not to call police.
But an arriving customer was already doing just that.
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“I think he just got robbed!” the 911 caller says.
“Do you think anyone is still in there?” a dispatcher responds.
“Don’t know,” responds the caller. “I just pulled in.”
“He’ll probably do something like this again,” says Rowley Police Chief Bob Barker of the suspect. “I’m sure it’s not his first robbery — and eventually he’ll get caught.”
The leads in this case aren’t great, though.
Maybe a fingerprint. Maybe a white van.
The store’s surveillance camera was broken, and a search by police helicopters and dogs turned up nothing.
Police are working toward a suspect composite sketch.
Ahmed and his wife — who also works at the store — are scared.
“They know everybody,” says customer Gut Willmonton. “When you drive by and wave to them they know who you are. It’s just a shame.”
Still, the clerk who came to this country just two years ago knows how this could have ended.
“Yes, I’m lucky,” says Ahmed. “My life is safe now. I’m lucky.”