Clerk: Robber said ‘Don’t be stupid’

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Shortly after being forced to the ground at gunpoint and robbed at a Grand Rapids party store, the two victims were back at the store.

The violent Monday afternoon heist lasted about a minute and was captured on surveillance video at the Butterworth Party Store in the 900 block of Butterworth Street SW.

==Watch the surveillance video above.==

A masked man walked inside the store shortly before 5 p.m. and quickly jumped over the counter. Wielding a handgun, he demanded the clerk and another man to give him cash.

“‘Give us all your money. Don’t be stupid,’” clerk Peter Mollhagen said the robber told him. “I just cooperated with them. [The store owners] told me anything happens like this, just give the money. Your life is more important than just the money.”

Store management told 24 Hour News 8 that the robber got away with some $2,000 and a bunch of cigarettes. Store surveillance shows the man fleeing to the north.

The robber likely did not expect the man he held at gunpoint moments ago to give chase. But that’s exactly what happened.

Pritpal Singh just happened to be in the store sitting behind the counter with Mollhagen, his friend. He is not a store employee but immediately jumped into action.

“It was just like a rush,” Singh said. “I didn’t think about it, just got in my car and just started chasing him.”

Singh was able to watch the robber get into a getaway car, he said. He relayed the description and Grand Rapids police took it from there.

Officers located the vehicle Singh described in front of a home in the 800 block of Bridge Street NW. Police surrounded the home and soon after took a suspect into custody.

One person is arrested after an armed robbery at a Grand Rapids party store. (April 28, 2014)
(One person is arrested after an armed robbery at a Grand Rapids party store. April 28, 2014)

Grand Rapids police on scene said there had been a few robberies in the area recently and they were looking into whether or not they could be connected to Monday’s incident.

Mollhagen said he has been a victim of robbery before while working as a clerk at another store.

“It seems like taking a risk. It’s hard,” Mollhagen said.

Singh says he was asked by police to confirm whether or not the man who was in custody was indeed the man who had robbed him.

“No doubt in my mind,” Singh said. “He had the same features and same eyes and everything. He was wearing the same shoes.”

Grand Rapids police say the incident shows what happens when witnesses cooperate with police and give them detailed information. A suspect was in custody about an hour after the crime took place.

Officers thanked Singh for his help in the investigation.

“At least one person off the street,” Singh said.

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