Surveillance video from a Clinton Township smoke shop shows two men robbing the store and tying up two women.
It was the afternoon when a man with a handgun walked into the J and W Smoke Shop on Gratiot Avenue near 16 Mile Road. He pointed the gun at the only employee in the store and walked behind the counter.
"It was shocking. At the same time, thank God nobody got hurt," said Abraham Ahmed of J and W.
Police said the gunmen pushed the clerk around and orders her to the ground where he ties her hands with duct tape. Then he used his cellphone to call his accomplice who showed up minutes later and started filling up garbage bags with items from the store, police said.
The men stole items such as cigarettes, lottery tickets and cash from the register to total nearly $4,000 worth of stolen items, police said.
"They had no concern for covering themselves up," said Clinton Township Police Det. William Furno. "That store is loaded with (surveillance) cameras. It almost looks like they might have been doing a drive-by and saw a female working alone and decided to hit it at the last minute."
Meanwhile, a customer entered the store to buy a drink. She had no idea that she was walking into a robbery in progress, police said. The men ordered her to the ground and tied her up.
However, she managed to get her hands free after the men took off. A man working at a bike shop in the strip mall entered the store and helped untie the clerk, police said.
"A situation like that can be very dangerous because the robbers have focus on one person and are getting their task done, and then they are interrupted by somebody else," said Furno. "Emotions can run high when things don't go as planned and that's when people can get hurt."
Police said no one was hurt and are asking for help in the search for the men on the surveillance video.
Anyone with information on the robbery is asked to call the Clinton Township Police Department at 586-493-7800 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.
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