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THURSDAY, JULY 6, 2006
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5 rob convenience store, clerk says

By Seth Burkett
DAILY Staff Writer

sburkett@decaturdaily.com 340-2355

When officers arrived at Tiffany's convenience store Tuesday evening, the place was in shambles, Decatur police said.

The register was hanging off the counter. Cash was scattered on the floor near a busted gaming machine. Broken beer bottles lay in the aisles.

A clerk, Bilal Uz Zaman, 19, told the officers a group of five masked black men had descended on the 2102 Eighth Street S.W. store at about 7:15 p.m., police said.

Zaman said he was near the door when the gray vehicle pulled up, but he went to his post behind the counter as four of the men got out and entered the store.

They wore black clothes, gloves and ski masks, Zaman said.

Zaman said he asked about their odd clothing, but received no reply. One of the men told Zaman to give him some "singles," to which Zaman responded that the store did not sell single cigarettes.

The man pulled a black handgun from his waistband, pointed it at Zaman's head and demanded money from the cash register.

Meanwhile, two of the men went to a gaming machine in the back of the store and broke it open to take the money from it.

After he handed over the money, Zaman said, the gunman made him come from behind the counter, lie down on the floor and put his hands behind his back.

The other man who remained at the front of the store went behind the counter and tried to take the register but was unable to remove it from the counter, Zaman said.

The two men at the back grabbed several bottles of beer as the group left the store, climbing back into their vehicle and heading east on Eighth Street.

Zaman said all the robbers appeared to stand between 5 feet, 7 inches and 6 feet tall and weigh between 150 and 190 pounds, but he didn't see any of their faces.

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