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Robbery victim: "I saw death"

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BATON ROUGE - A man who was held up at gunpoint Wednesday in the store he owns didn't think he was going to survive.

"I saw death, yes I did," Munther Hamideh said.

Hamideh owns "The Real Deal" clothing store on Plank Road. He opened the store in 1993, and has never had a problem with a customer until Wednesday.

"I was calm," Hamideh said. "I tried to calm him down because I don't want him to shoot me or kill me for a few bucks whatever. I did what he asked me for."

Investigators said the thief walked into the store and pretended to shop, then pointed a gun at the store clerk and demanded cash. It was one of two armed robberies that happened within hours of each other on Plank Road; the second happened around 11 a.m., across the street at the "Sugar Belle Bakery." 

Investigators said there are similarities between them, but it's too early to tell if there is a connection.

"A subject walked in fitting the same description in both with similar characteristics," Cpl. Don Coppola with Baton Rouge Police said.

Right now, there are concerns the suspect could escalate the crimes in future robberies by shooting victims.

"That's always a concern," Coppola said. "We want to let people know if they are in that position stay as calm as you can."

Meanwhile, Hamideh had this message from the man who stole from him.

"I will not surrender to you or anyone," Hamideh said. "I'm not scared from no man. Go find a job. Go find a real job. Work hard like I do and everybody else do."

In both cases, investigators said the thief was about 5'10", had a dark complexion, thin build, and wore a baseball cap. Call police if you can help solve this crime.

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