Local Crime, News, Police/Fire

A Lynn convenience store owner fired his clerk for getting robbed too often

Highland Variety was robbed at knifepoint on Sunday for the third time in less than three weeks. (Owen O'Rourke)
UPDATE: One day after speaking with the Daily Item, Highland Variety owner Mohammed Ali now says his clerk was transferred to a different store also owned by Ali.

LYNN — Highland Variety was robbed at knifepoint on Sunday for the third time in less than three weeks.

Police are unsure if it’s the same man robbing the convenience store at 96 Adams St., but each time a masked man has brandished a knife and demanded money from the same 49-year-old male clerk. The suspect made off with a small amount of cash on each occasion, Lynn Police Lt. Michael Kmiec said.

This time, Highland Variety was robbed later in the day, shortly after 7 p.m. The other two robberies — Sunday, July 23 and Friday, July 28 — occurred early in the morning and during the same week.

On Sunday, either a white or light-skinned Hispanic man wearing a mask showed a knife, ordered the clerk to open up the register, and took off with a small amount of cash and some cigarettes, Kmiec said.

Mohammed Ali, 52, has been the owner of Highland Variety for the past six years. Aside from the past three weeks, he said the store has only been robbed two other times under his ownership.

Ali initially said the clerk has been fired after he was robbed three times. He said the masked man may have found it easy to take money from the clerk — he saw the same guy, knew he could get the money and kept coming back. One day later, however, Ali told the Daily Item the clerk had been transferred to a different store he owns.

If the man sees a different face at the store, Ali said he doesn’t think the suspect will try it again.

Ali said he has enhanced security in the wake of the robberies, by adding two more cameras.

“I think he’s not going to try it anymore,” Ali said. “Now he’s going to see that I’m more active in there.”

Kmiec said the store may be an easier target for the robberies because the suspect or suspects only see one clerk. Other stores may have two clerks working at the same time.

“They’re under investigation at this point,” Kmiec said. “It’s not the norm to have the same store robbed three times in a short period.”

On July 23, a masked man robbed Highland Variety at knifepoint shortly before 8:30 a.m. The man demanded that the clerk open the cash register and the suspect took money before fleeing the store.

On July 28, a man entered the convenience store wearing a bandana over his face, and carrying a knife, shortly before 6 a.m. He demanded money from the clerk and walked away with some cash.

 

Police are looking into whether it was the same masked man who robbed Inner Convenience, which is on Union Street, at knifepoint on July 24.

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