Cranston market held up twice in same week

Surveillance video shows a man with a gun trying to rob Ocean State Market on Dyer Avenue in Cranston on Friday, July 13, 2018. (WJAR)

Police in Cranston and the owner of a local convenience store are seeking the public's help in identifying a pair of suspects in two armed robberies in four days last week. The first one happened on Monday, July 9th when a man in a black hoodie wearing a mask came into the Ocean State Market on Dyer Avenue with a knife demanding money. He got away with almost $300 and a pack of Newport cigarettes.

Four days later, on Friday, July 13th, a suspect wearing a red hoodie and a similar mask rushed into the store; this time with a gun. The clerk working at the time refused to give him any money, and the suspect slapped him in the face with the firearm before fleeing the store empty-handed. Police and the store's owner, Adil Alkhafaji, also say another man entered the store posing as a customer but left without buying anything. Twenty minutes later, the gunman entered.

“We come here to work and we face all this trouble in my store," said Alkhafaji. "I don’t know what’s going on.”

Alkhafaji believes the armed suspect in both incidents is the same person. He describes him as a husky male between 5-foot-8 and 5-foot-10 inches tall. He seemed to be wearing the same black Nike high top sneakers with white trim both times.

“I think he’s one of my customers – my regular customers," said Alkhafaji. "The way he walks, I know him.”

This is not the first time the store has been a target of an armed intruder. In 2016, Alkhafaji was confronted himself at gunpoint by a would-be robber. In that incident, the Iraqi immigrant and former US Army bodyguard chased the suspect out with a baseball bat.

Next door, Dennis Horton has owned Kabloom Tattoo studio for twenty two years. He says the area is getting more dangerous so people need to continue to stick together.

“To me, that’s the thread that weaves the fabric of the community," Horton told NBC 10. "You have to take care of one another, you have take an interest in each other, you have to check in on each other.”

If you have any information on the suspects in these incidents, you're asked to contact the Cranston Police Department's detective division at 401-942-2211. You can also contact the police anonymously using the department's app, or by using www.tipsoft.com.

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