TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) - Police in the City of Tonawanda are hunting for the gunman behind a terrifying robbery at a Rent-A-Center.
It happened in broad daylight in the busy shopping plaza in Tonawanda that includes BJ's and Tops. And it all happened so fast, no one could give police a real good description of the suspect.
"Right now, we're actively looking for the subject. We're trying to get all the information we can. Trying to collect all the videos we can," says Tonawanda Police Chief John Ivancic.
The armed robber attacked the manager of the Rent-A-Center outside the store just after 8 a.m. He pistol whipped him across the head and tried pulling the victim inside the store. But the manager put up a fight.
So the attacker took off running all the way across the shopping plaza parking lot to the Tops gas station. There he found a running car, stole it, and made his getaway.
He ditched the car in front of Lori Ann Meder's house on Lorelee Drive off Colvin Boulevard. Neighbors saw him take off running down Briarlee Road.
"It's very unsettling. Because I have three small children. There are a lot of families moving into the neighborhood. And there are a lot of children. I let my children play outside. I'm afraid to do that now," Meder says.
The Erie County Sheriff's Office Air One helicopter helped City of Tonawanda Police search the neighborhood where the attacker took off. But neither they nor the K9s were able to track him down.
It all happened so fast, descriptions of the robber vary. That's why City of Tonawanda Police are hoping more witnesses will share what they saw. Detectives were back at the shopping plaza Monday afternoon looking for clues.
Many neighbors were surprised such a crime would take place in the plaza and they hope get some peace of mind soon.
"I shop there every day. I'm at Tops every day. We fill up our gas tanks at Tops or BJ's. We're always right there. So yeah. It is unsettling," Meder says.
The victim of the attack went to the emergency room with cuts to his head.
The attacker is described as a black man as tall as 6'4" with an athletic build. He was wearing dark pants and carrying a black handgun.
If you know anything, call City of Tonawanda Police at 692-2103.
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