Mt. Airy deli manager unnerved by armed robbery

John Hobbs was still a bit shaken Wednesday evening as he stood behind the counter inside Lincoln Drive Deli in Mt. Airy.

While working three days earlier, a man with a hood over his head and a gun in his hand walked into the neighborhood mainstay and demanded that Hobbs hand him cash from the register.

“Hurry up, I won’t hurt you,” Hobbs recalled the man telling him during the armed robbery.

Nothing like it had ever happened to the store manager. “I’m just glad we’re okay,” he said.

According to police, an unknown black male entered the deli at around 8:45 a.m. on Sunday, donning the hood and drawing a black handgun just outside the door beforehand. The assailant walked out with $100.

Another employee was working that morning, but was in the back of the deli at the time of the robbery, said co-owner Linda Hem, who plans on handing over store surveillance tape of the incident to police.

“I hope we can catch this guy,” she said.

So do deli customers, who were as upset as Hobbs and Hem.

“Are you serious? I knew nothing about it,” said Carla Stimmons after grabbing some items from the deli just before close. “I know my husband came to the store to buy something that morning and heard the other owner very upset, but we never knew what exactly happened.”

As Gretel DeRuiter was coming from the pizza shop across the street, she said she too had not heard about the incident. “This is my first time hearing about this.”

“It concerns me,” she continued, “because I live a few houses away and I send my 15-year-old son to the corner store often. I am also concerned for the business owners around here. I care about them as well.”

Police are describing the suspect as a 6’2″, 25-year-old man, who was wearing dark pants, a gray hoodie and sunglasses at the time of the incident.

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