Armed robbers hit market near U

Kevin McCahill

Two robbers got away with more than $8,000 in cash and cigarettes Tuesday from Santana Deli and Foods, but not before one got the business end of a sword.

At approximately 1 a.m. Tuesday, two gunmen entered the front entrance of the market in the 600 block of University Avenue Southeast and held an employee, Shawn Phillips, at gunpoint, according to the Minneapolis Police Department report and business owner Abed Hassuneh.

Hassuneh described the two men as approximately 6 feet tall with a medium build. He said both men wore heavy jackets and tied shirts over their faces.

They stole approximately $2,000 in cigarettes, $1,700 from the cash register and $4,700 from the office, Hassuneh said.

After viewing the events through his surveillance equipment in the upstairs apartment, Hassuneh said, he locked the front door of the business from the outside, trying to trap the thieves.

Hassuneh said he doesn’t own a gun, but was carrying a “small sword” during the incident, he said.

Hassuneh then called police, and a nearby officer arrived.

After finding an exit in the rear of the store, one man escaped after being chased by an officer, he said. Hassuneh held the back door closed until the officer returned. The other man broke open the rear door, knocked down the officer and escaped. Hassuneh said he was able to cut the running thief on his bicep with the sword.

A supplemental report was not available at press time.

“It’s getting worse here every day,” Hassuneh said about safety in the area.

As he spoke, he soldered part of a gate that will now surround his business.

“Now we are gating up and arming ourselves,” he said.

Hassuneh said he believes the men were looking for money to buy drugs.

Hassuneh, along with his brother, Jamal Hassuneh, own the Santana Deli and Foods on Fourth Street.