Masked suspect pulls gun, robs family-owned vape shop
A masked man robbed a young woman at gunpoint inside her family's small business on Monday night. It happened around 7:30 p.m. at the Dallas Bay Vape Shop on Hixson Pike in Lakesite.
Surveillance cameras captured the armed robbery on tape. The suspect emptied the cash drawer and took off with the clerk's car.
The vape shop is a family-run business. Wayne Downs opened it with his three daughters less than two months ago.
Downs shared the surveillance video with Channel 3 in hopes that someone will recognize the suspect.
The masked man is seen storming into the store, brandishing a gun. He said he didn't want any merchandise, but demanded cash and the clerk's car keys.
"She held it together really well. I was super proud of her," Downs said of his 22-year-old daughter, Bailey. She was working a normal shift when the robbery occurred.
She stayed calm throughout the entire ordeal, which lasted just 2.5 minutes.
"She called me immediately. My wife called 911. Of course, the gentleman was gone already," Downs explained.
The family learned their store wasn't the only place the suspect visited on Monday night. He was caught on camera -- just minutes before the armed robbery -- at the tobacco shop a few doors down, where he purchased a $1 lottery ticket.
He wasn't recognized as a regular customer at either store.
Downs hopes someone knows who he is and will call police.
Despite the financial hit the store took, the doors are still open -- and they're thankful no one was harmed.
"She handled it like a champ," Downs said.
The stolen vehicle is a 2002 Silver Nissan Maxima with Tennessee tag # 465XZY.
If you see the car or recognize the suspect, you're asked to call the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office at 423-622-0022.