MISSOULA, Mont. - As the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished. Surveillance video of a robbery that occurred early Tuesday morning shows a Missoula convenience store clerk appear to pay for a customer's iced tea minutes before the clerk is assaulted by a gang of robbers wielding baseball bats.
"I'm so shocked," said Jesse Singh, owner of Jay's Mart. "It's been another terrifying day. I don't have any words for that."
Police say the hold-up occurred on January 8 around 4:20 a.m. at Jay's Mart, on the corner of Reserve and 39th Street.
Store owners provided the surveillance video to NBC Montana. In it a man dressed in black is shown inside the store. He brings a drink to the counter, and after a brief conversation, the clerk is shown pulling money from his pocket and paying for the drink. The customer and the clerk then shake hands before the customer leaves.
The customer appears to exit the store with the drink and meet up with three hooded figures, also dressed in black, standing outside.
Four to five minutes later, three of the men enter the store, corner the clerk behind the counter, and beat him over the head with aluminum baseball bats. After that they steal a cash register drawer and run out of the store.
Singh said he arrived at his store Tuesday as his employee was being loaded into an ambulance. He said the clerk suffered a skull fracture and underwent emergency surgery at an area hospital.
"I want those guys to be behind bars for their lifetime," said Singh. "That's what I think, because those kind of people have no right to stay outside."
Police are still investigating the robbery. They ask anyone with information to call Missoula Crimestoppers at (406) 721-4444.