Armed robber hits gas station |

Armed robber hits gas station

A knife-wielding man took some cash during a lightning quick armed robbery Sunday morning at an Alta Sierra convenience store and gas station.

According to Lt. Jeff Powell at the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office, the suspect waited for an elderly customer to leave the Alta Sierra Station at Alta Sierra Drive and Highway 49 before striking at 7:38 a.m. The slightly built robber then walked in quickly with a black ski mask on and a large kitchen knife raised, as if he were going to stab someone.

“The (attendant) did everything right,” Powell said. “He backed up and let him have the money. It happened real fast and nobody was hurt.”

The robber manipulated the buttons on the cash register, helped himself to the money and fled, Powell said. Witnesses said the man may have driven north on Highway 49 toward Grass Valley in a dark or black Honda-type vehicle with a modified exhaust.

“He knew what he was doing,” said store manager Naveed Mustafa. “He even reached under the register for bigger bills we keep there sometimes, and he did it all in 15 seconds.”

Mustafa said employee Mumtaz Hussain was behind the counter when the robber came in, but he had been trained not to confront robbers and responded well to the situation. According to Hussain, the robber appeared to be a skinny Caucasian male and was brandishing a knife with a blade about 4 to 5 inches long.

Powell said the suspect was about 5 foot 8 to 5 foot 10 inches tall “with a very slight build.” He said the man was wearing a black or dark letterman-style jacket with white sleeves and may have been a methamphetamine addict looking for drug money.

The entire crime was videotaped, and investigating officers will be reviewing it for more clues, Powell said. Anyone who witnessed the robbery or thinks they have seen the suspect is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 265-7880.

To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail or call 477-4237.

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