Clermont clerk details how she outsmarts masked gunman during robbery

Police search for masked man in store robbery

CLERMONT, Fla. - The store clerk who was robbed at a Shell gas station while opening the store
is back at work on Wednesday after she outsmarted the robber by distracting him.

Smita Patel told Local 6 just how quickly the robbery unfolded on Tuesday morning at the Shell gas station at 899 West Highway 50.

"As soon as I opened the bolt lock and was holding the handle he was right
there, right behind me," says Patel. "I was just scared and I was screaming."

That masked robber, armed with a gun forced her inside the store and told her to
turn off the alarm and then took her to the register. Thinking on her feet, Patel
was able to distract the robber.

"Something clicked in my mind and I said "Someone just pulled in the driveway,"
and he was saying "Where, where?"

In the surveillance video the robber goes to the front door to make sure the coast is clear and that's when Patel made her move.

"That second I grabbed my phone dialed 911 and pressed the hold up button."

The crook then came back,  took $200 from the register and ran off.

But Patel says she recognized his deep voice and says he knew what to look for. She thinks its someone who has broken into the shop before, but never with a gun.

"He was the same height and wore the same outfit. A couple times he's broken inside the shop and taken the same envelope," she said.

Patel says this is the second time she's been robbed at gunpoint, but nothing is gonna stop her from working.

"Life goes on, you cannot live in fear," says Patel. "Nobody is going to stop what I'm doing everyday and I have to do it for my family."

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