COVINGTON — Two masked men entered Bailey's Food Pride on Salem Road on Friday morning, brandished a weapon and took an undisclosed amount of cash, according to the Newton County Sheriff's Office.
The men are black and believed to be in their late teens or early 20s and approximately 6 feet tall.
"The male with the handgun walked over to the cash register and removed money from the drawer," said NCSO Public Information Officer Courtney Morrison. "The other male kept his hand in his pocket and stood at the door. Both fled on foot toward Highway 81."
Morrison said both men were wearing gray hoodies and black masks and one had on a pair of black jeans.
The store clerk who was the victim was a 29-year-old woman and there was one customer in the store at the time of the robbery.
Newton County resident Rick Moore lives nearby and said he had ridden a motor scooter over to the store to buy a pack of cigarettes.
"I think I startled them. I believe they were expecting her to be by herself. My scooter was parked beside her car and they couldn't see it," he said Friday afternoon.
Moore said the clerk was getting his cigarettes from a shelf and her back was turned when the two entered the store.
"I looked up and saw two black men with hoodies and masks come up to the door. When I saw that, I knew something was wrong," he said. "The guy in the lead raised a nickel-plated, 45-caliber handgun."
Moore said he could be wrong about the caliber of the weapon, but to the best of his knowledge that is what it was.
"I put up my hands and backed away from the register," he said, adding that he was standing at the front counter and had placed his money for the cigarettes on the counter.
"He (the robber with the gun) grabbed my money and then reached in and took money out of the cash register. Then he demanded money out of the safe, but she (the clerk) told him, ‘The safe doesn't work. I don't have a key.'"
Moore explained that the safe is very large and is positioned right next to the front door.
"It's obviously not a working safe," he said.
Moore said the second man stood behind the man brandishing the weapon and kept saying, "Come on, man, let's go."
"I think he was getting nervous," Moore said, adding that he doesn't believe the two had a car, but if they did it was parked behind the store and the pair took off on foot in that direction.
"(The clerk) started to go out and see where they went, but I told her to lock the doors and don't let them come back in. While she was trying to lock up, I called 911 from the store phone," he said.