Store owner leaps in to help customer targeted by armed robber.
Police in Lawrence, Massachusetts are looking for a would-be robber who got more than he bargained for.
It was a crime in the blink of an eye.
A suspect flashing a gun as he entered "Tony's" liquor store went right for a customer's cellphone, but ended up with a fight.
“They didn't want the store, they wanted the guy,” said store owner Antoine Karko.
Karko was behind the counter around 6:30 Monday evening.
A regular customer was scratching lotto tickets in the corner when in walked a man masked by a scarf.
“He grabbed the phone from him and I didn't know what kind of weapon he had in his hands - he smashed him in two places on his cheek,” said Karko.
“I think his intention was to rob the victim further and we don't know what else but the victim fought him off,” said Chief John Romero of the Lawrence Police Department.
The victim pulled off the man's backpack as he tried to take off, but the thief turned around to make another run at it, and that's when he faced Karko.
“I grabbed the bat and I go from here…I went outside to look for the guy with my bat and I don't see nothing,” said Karko.
“The perpetrator reentered the store. I think when he saw what was happening I think he just thought better of it and he just fled,” said Romero.
He's still on the run, and the victim was treated at the hospital.
Karko has a warning for others looking to target his Newbury Street liquor store.
“Don't mess with Antoine because I put my blood here,” said Karko.
That suspect did get away with the victims cellphone. He is described as 5-foot, 7-inches, medium build and wearing that very distinctive black and white scarf.