EXCLUSIVE: Worker describes terrifying moments of armed robbery at Pearl City smoke shop

EXCLUSIVE: Worker describes terrifying moments of armed robbery at Pearl City smoke shop
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

PEARL CITY, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu Police are searching for three men involved in an armed robbery at a Pearl City smoke shop.

It happened around 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Hawaiian Holy Smokes off Kamehameha Highway.

Surveillance cameras first captured a man -- dressed in a long-sleeved flannel shirt, red sunglasses, black gloves and an LA Clippers hat -- enter the shop with a duffle bag.

"I was super scared, I thought something was going to happen," said one of two employees working at the time, who didn't want to be identified.

The employee said the suspect browsed around the shop for 10 minutes, as if he were a regular customer.

"He was saying he had a $250 budget," the employee said.

The suspect then told the workers he left his wallet in the car. He exited the shop and returned seconds later, with a gun in his hand.

"A big silver chrome .45 looking gun and he put it in my employees' faces and said empty the register," said owner Jeremy Nickle.

Turns out, he wasn't alone. Two other men, also dressed in long-sleeved flannel shirts and baseball caps, but with masks on, came into the store and helped fill the duffle bag with products.

In a span of 3 minutes, Nickle says the suspects took off with $700 in cash and $700 worth of merchandise, but not before leaving behind crucial evidence.

"Before he left, he smashed some things off the counter then smashed the display case and his clip came out," the employee said. "The magazine came out, but it was empty."

The gun wasn't even loaded. Police took the magazine in as evidence.

"That kind of gave us some relief," said the employee.

Nobody was hurt in the process, but Nickle says this wasn't the first time Hawaiian Holy Smokes was targeted.

"After being broken into over 40 times since I've been open in Hawaii, it's definitely an experience doing business here," Nickle said.

He's confident his upgraded surveillance system will help police catch the suspects.

"It was a little scary for our employees," Nickle said. "We're glad that everybody is safe and we need to get these guys off the street."

45 minutes before the robbery, police say suspects matching the same description, hit the Mahalo Express gas station in Waipahu.

Anyone with information should call police.

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