A man who robbed a West Oak Lane store on Friday using a demand note claimed he was doing so in part because he has a sick child, according to Philadelphia police.
The case echoes a similar robbery of a smoke shop in Bustleton last year, during which a man claimed he was robbing the store because his daughter needed a transplant.
In the latest case, the man walked into a Rite Aid on the 7400 block of Ogontz Avenue shortly before noon and, after pretending he was going to make a purchase, approached the cashier and handed her a note.
According to police, the note read, in part: “Give me all the money. I’m sorry, I have a sick child. You have 15 seconds.”
In a surveillance video released by police, the cashier places an unknown amount of cash from the register into a plastic store bag. The robber briefly goes to leave before turning back to the cashier and apparently demanding more money from the register, which she places in the bag.
Then, the robber appears to say "thank you” to the cashier and walks out.
Police did not detail how much cash the man took from the store. He did not flash a weapon.
The suspect was described as thin, around 5-feet-10, and between 30 and 40 years old. He had a mustache, a gray hoodie, a baseball cap, black gloves, and glasses.
In a similar case on July 8, an armed man walked into the 1 Stop Smoke Shop on Verree Road near Red Lion Road in Bustleton and forced a saleswoman to open the store’s cash register at gunpoint.
The suspect took money from the register but then had a change of heart and said "You know what, I’m not gonna do it to you, it’s not gonna help my daughter’s transplant,” and returned the cash to the register before running away, according to authorities.
A police spokeswoman said Tuesday that the suspect in the smoke shop robbery has not been identified.
It remains unclear whether either robber was telling the truth about having a sick child.