Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Store to close after latest robbery

April 17. 2014 11:43PM

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WILKES-BARRE — With Thursday night’s robbery the last straw, the Hazle Mart bandit and the inability of police to catch him has apparently put a convenience store out of business.

A clerk at the Hazle Mart at Blackman and Hazle streets reported another armed robbery there Thursday night, making it the second in two days and the fifth in three months.

Luzerne County 911 received the report at 9:13 p.m. One city police officer was on-scene a minute later and others were en route, according to a 911 supervisor, who spoke with a reporter as the store clerk was still on the phone with a 911 call taker.

Within a half hour, police had cleared the scene, and a man who identified himself as the store owner but who declined to give his name had arrived.

“I’m closing the store,” he said. “The police aren’t doing anything. It’s not safe for him,” the man said, gesturing to his clerk.

The clerk, who previously identified himself as Mohammad Masud and brother of the store owner, appeared distraught. Before his brother arrived, he said the thief made off with several cartons of cigarettes.

On Wednesday, Masud had said the man who committed that night’s robbery was the same man who committed the previous robberies there on Jan. 17, March 17 and March 25. Each time, the thief made off with a couple hundred dollars and Kool cigarettes. In the first robbery, the thief took a pack of Kools; in each of the others, until Thursday night’s, he took a carton.

The suspect is described as a black male, about 6 feet, 1 inch tall. He brandished a black handgun and wore dark jeans, a hooded shirt and a black mask over his face. Anyone with information should call police at 570-826-8106.

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