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Violent armed robbery in west Las Vegas caught on camera

Posted at 6:27 PM, Jan 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-14 23:20:43-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — An in-store surveillance camera captured a violent armed robbery at a smoke shop in west Las Vegas over the weekend.

It happened around 11:50 p.m. Saturday at the Smokes Mart, located near Fort Apache and Flamingo Roads.

Surveillance video showed four masked men armed with handguns and rifles entering the store and demanding two managers inside to the ground.

“Please please don’t hurt us, just take it,” one of the managers can be heard saying on the video.

The robbery lasted about eight minutes, according to the surveillance footage.

A manager was forced to open the register as another suspect opened up display cases and took what they could, as seen on the video.

At one point, one of the suspects was pointing a rifle over the counter, straight at one of the employees lying face down.

The suspects left the scene on foot, according to police.

The husband and wife store managers said they are grateful to survive to tell their story.

"I just tried to stay as calm as possible, because I knew if I freaked out, in the situation, it would escalate,” Amanda Dowdy said.

“In those two seconds when you don’t know if you’ll have the rest of your life to look at, in those moments I didn’t think about the things I’ve missed or a life flashing moment. It was just that moment, and that was it,” Keiser Bonstei said.

The store is now taking measures to prevent this from happening again, including closing earlier at night.

Luckily no customers were inside at the time, but what can you do if you find yourself in a similar situation?

We asked 13 Action News Crime, and Safety Expert retired police lieutenant Randy Sutton to come out to the store for advice.

Sutton said to always comply with a robber or gunman.

”You don’t want to be a hero; you don’t wanna be an interference, you want to cooperate," Sutton said.

Sutton also has advice for business owners for protection.

The first thing Sutton noticed outside the store was the signage and banners covering the windows, something he says that may inadvertently help the bad guys.

“If a customer is walking up and if the covered glass wasn’t here they might see those three masked people in there and call the police," Sutton said.

Smokes Mart already has surveillance cameras all through the store, and Sutton would advise other local businesses to make the same investment.

“It’s best to put a camera up here to see who is coming and if you’re an employee, you can see who it is coming in,” Sutton said.

13 Action News will have continued updates on this story.