PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) The hunt is on for four men accused of robbing a local grocery store of thousands of dollars. FOX 29 spoke with the worker who police say was hit in the head by the barrel of the gun used in the robbery.
According to police, the four men team of armed robbers burst into the Diaz Grocery Store in the city's Kingsessing section with masks on and guns out, looking for a quick score. Jose Estbe was behind the counter when the takeover robbery went down.
"They hit me in my face and they told me to give them the money. Three or four guys," he told FOX 29.
The 64-year-old Estbe put up a bit of a fight before one bandit kicked in the Plexiglas door to the cashier's booth, according to the video.
"They break the door, they come in, ask me to open the register. I opened it up and they took all the money," Estbe explained.
Estbe says the robbers quickly emptied the cash register, then turned their attention to his 55-year-old coworker at the back of the store. Police say he was forced to the ground and$150 in cash was taken from his wallet at gunpoint.
"I thought they were gonna shoot me. I tried not to give them the money. I had a couple thousand dollars and they took all the money you know," Estbe said.
Detectives quickly retrieved surveillance video of the suspects. Estbe says they were heavily armed with an UZI. Police believe it's a .9mm handgun with an extended magazine holding over 30 rounds.
"The way they were operating that gun, the way he points it at the owner, points it at the guy, that gun could have discharged at any moment.
The suspects also forced a 19-year-old customer to the floor and robbed him, before exiting the store in a flash. Police are now trying to determine if these suspects have been involved in any other crimes in the area.
"When you have people like this just terrorizing these communities, these businesses will close down, then people have to go a longer distance to shop,' said Southwest Detectives Lt. John Walker.
"You never know what they gonna do when they come in, but i got lucky,' said Estbe.
According to police, the suspects used black tee shirts and a hockey mask to cover their faces. they got away with 3-4 thousand dollars in cash. Police believe the suspects are in their teens and may be from the very same neighborhood.
If you have any information about this crime or these suspects, please contact: Southwest Detective Division 215-686-3183/3184 Det. O'Brien #628 DC 15-12-080223.