EAST VILLAGE — A convenience store clerk was injured in a scuffle with a robber who demanded cash and then grappled with him for several seconds before fleeing with about $90 when a customer walked in and interrupted the robbery.
The incident happened around 6:49 p.m. Wednesday at John Food Mart at 1934 W. Chicago Ave., according to Hassan Abedi, who was working behind the counter of the store on Friday and filling in for the store's manager, Omar Quadri, who was the victim of the crime.
Quadri has had to limit his work hours since the attack because he had a previous neck and shoulder injury that was worsened during the fight, according to Abedi, who works with Quadri.
"He's in a lot of pain," Abedi said of his coworker.
Reached on Friday, Quadri said he recognized the robber as being a regular customer, who usually buys Arizona Tea and wears a black jacket.
Quadri said that the man, whose name he does not know, initially walked toward the cooler and pretended to be a customer before sneaking behind the front counter and ambushing him.
He kept saying, "I'm just here for bread. Give it to me, I'm going to stab you," and I said, "I am going to open it, but back the f-- off before I open [the register]."
Quadri said the man threatened to stab him but did not show a knife.
Quadri was able to give the man about $90, which was on the counter at the time, but when another customer came in, the man ran out quickly before the register was opened.
"He bumped a few people outside when he ran [west] toward Damen. High Dive was packed at the moment, there was a Blackhawk game," Quadri said.
The surveillance video shared by Abedi shows the man wearing sunglasses, a turquoise athletic jacket and backpack.
This is the second time that the convenient store at the northwest corner of Chicago Avenue and Winchester Street has been the target of thieves. Last year, when the store was under different ownership and called Rio Balsas Market, two masked gunmen stormed the shop and took cash from Quadri, who was a manager at that time.
Abedi said he has worked as a cashier for three years, mostly at a South Side store before transferring to John Food Mart a few months ago.
"On the South Side this happens all the time. I've been held up twice," Abedi said.
Quadri, who has worked at the corner market for about seven years, says he is sharing the video so people might recognize the man and call police to report him.
Chicago Police officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the incident.
John Food Mart on the northwest corner of Chicago Avenue and Winchester Street. [DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]
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