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Published: Wednesday, 5/21/2014

5 robberies have police department’s full attention

Officers believe same men committed crimes


The fear didn’t set in until the two armed men left the store.

“I work hard for my life. I’m not waiting for some guy to come from the street just to shoot me,” said Raed Alrabaya, 36, a manager at an Old South End Stop ’N Go, 1256 Broadway St.

The store where Mr. Alrabaya has worked for 2½ years was robbed Monday night, the latest in a string of robberies that Toledo police believe are being committed by the same two men.

Since May 5, five Toledo convenience stores have been robbed by two men.

“It has the full attention of the Toledo Police Department,” Sgt. Joe Heffernan said. It’s our number one priority right now.”

Police do not have any suspects in the robberies, which include the Monday hold up on Broadway; Stop ’N Go, 1409 Western Ave. on Friday; East Side Sunoco, 615 Oak St on May 14; Stop ’N Go, 1901 Broadway on May 9; and Stop ’N Go, 1806 Arlington Ave. on May 5.

“Basically, we just need a break in the case,” the sergeant said. “Hopefully, we can track these guys down before they strike again.”

At about 9:25 p.m. Monday, two men ran into the Broadway Street strip-mall store, their sideways guns pointed at Mr. Alrabaya, the only person inside the store.

“Empty your pockets,” one of the men demanded, putting the barrel of his gun between Mr. Alrabaya’s eyebrows.

The suspect demanded cash from the register. When the $80 or so in the drawer wasn’t enough, he demanded cash from the safe.

“You’re gonna open the safe or I'm gonna shoot you,” Mr. Alrabaya, a 10-year employee of Stop ’N Go, recalled one suspect saying.

Repeatedly, Mr. Alrabaya told him there was no safe in the store. The suspect moved his gun from the clerk’s temple and used the handle to bash him on the right side of his face near his eye. He thought he’d been shot. He started shaking, his arms were numb, his hands were shaking. Mr. Alrabaya grabbed a nearby chair to brace himself, and reached for a small cash box that contained an estimated several thousand dollars.

The suspects both fled southbound through the parking lot and then westbound into an alley behind the store, police said. Mr. Alrabaya was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

“I hope the police find them,” Mr. Alrabaya said on Tuesday, his cheek and jaw still swollen. “It’s very bad. It’s sad. You know, it’s my life. For him, it’s nothing to shoot and leave, he doesn’t care. It’s making me afraid to work in the store. Today I told the boss I am not working by myself anymore.”

Police have said the robbers typically wear masks. In a police report, the suspects were described as black — one is about 5 feet, 7 inches tall, 160 pounds; the other is about 5 feet, 10 inches tall, 160 pounds. Police ask that anyone with information call the Crime Stopper program at 419-255-1111.

Contact Taylor Dungjen at tdungjen@theblade.com, or 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @taylordungjen.

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