Reporting Jim Armstrong
MALDEN (CBS) – The Malden Mini Mart on Main Street does a brisk business – all of it in cash, and it appears that the bad guys know it.
Surveillance video shows two robberies in four days in the last week. The first happened when two male suspects robbed the clerk at knife point, attacking him and punching him in the eye.
In the second robbery, the lone suspect points a gun at the clerk’s chest.
“And while he was leaving he said, ‘Don’t call the cops or I’m going to shoot you,’” according to that clerk, Ram Thapa.
The store’s been robbed dozens of times in the past few years – so often, that after 12 years in business the owner is thinking of locking up for good. With each robbery, the suspect or suspects gets away with a few hundred dollars. The net result is the store being unable to pay its rent or utility bills.
“There’s no choice if it keeps on happening, what can I do?,” asks owner Dharam Jain. The 69-year-old retiree says there are only so many hours in the day where he can be behind the counter, and he’s having trouble keeping his employees because of all the robberies.
The clerk who was present during both of last week’s robberies, Mr. Thapa, is the owner’s nephew. He is one of the few people Jain can convince to work here.
“I didn’t think that these things happened on Main Street in Malden,” Thapa said. “I used to think that Malden is really secure compared to other places but now I think that it’s not like what I used to think.”
Frequent customers like Felipe Ricardo don’t want to see the place shut down. He lives in Revere, but says he shops here every day.
“I think that’s really unfortunate for the store,” Ricardo said. “It’s a great store, they have lot of clients, even the workers here are very great people, they’re very nice.
But from the owner’s point of view, it might just be too dangerous to stay open. He hasn’t set a closing date yet, and as of this week he was still stocking the shelves with new shipments of soda and other merchandise. But he doesn’t like being a target.
“I don’t know,” Jain muses. The suspects, he says, can often overpower him and his workers. Someday, he fears, “they’ll try to kill me or someone else. They can do that.”