It had been a quiet night for Hess gas station clerk Mohammed Kahn.
Unlike during the busy summer months, there were no customers inside the station’s market on Edwards Avenue near the Long Island Expressway on-ramp Wednesday.
About 7:45 p.m., Mr. Kahn said a customer — a man in his 30s wearing a black hat and black clothing — walked in through the doors and up to the counter. The man told Mr. Kahn to give him money from the register.
The cashier, the only employee working at the time, thought it was a prank.
“I was looking to him like he was joking,” Mr. Kahn told the News-Review.
That’s when the man pulled out a handgun and pointed it at the clerk, demanding the cash.
Mr. Kahn quickly realized the man wasn’t kidding. Mr. Kahn said he gave the robber cash from the register and the man ran away from the station.
No one was injured in the robbery.
Riverhead Town police responded to Mr. Kahn’s call to 911 moments later, and searched the scene for the robber.
“They came right away,” Mr. Kahn said. “They’re very fast.”
Suffolk County police reached the gas station soon after Riverhead cops and took over the investigation. The Hess station sits about a quarter-mile into the Suffolk County police’s jurisdiction.
Town police described the suspect as a white male standing about 6-feet-tall and wearing dark clothing. He was last seen running north along Edwards Avenue and remains at large.
Suffolk County Police Department detectives are actively investigating the robbery, county police said.
Mr. Kahn said Suffolk County sheriffs often stop by the mart by while patrolling the area, but no police were nearby when the robbery occurred.
“[The robber] was lucky,” he said.
Still, he’s confident the robber will be caught; the suspect was caught on surveillance footage, Mr. Kahn said.
Mr. Kahn, better known to his customers as Assad, has been working at the Hess station for 12 years and said he had never been robbed before.
But in recent years, he said, the neighborhood around the station has been changed by more drugs on the street.
“I see girls and boys come by, they look like they came from good homes,” Mr. Kahn said. “There’s a lot of drugs.”