BEDFORD, Va. -

It was almost closing time at the Spirit gas station Monday night and Jessica House was preparing to go home, when an unwanted customer walked through the door.

"He said put your hands up," said House, a cashier at the Moneta Road convenience store.  "I didn't pay much attention to him at first, because I've had customers say that to me before."

A man wearing a black hooded sweatshirt pulled out a gun and ordered House to empty the cash register.

"Basically he said if you give me the money, I won't shoot you," said House.  "He said that repeatedly."

House said the robber was wearing a white surgical mask.  His face was painted black.

"He was trying to make you think he was a black male, but you could tell by his eyes and his voice that he was white," said House.

A feature that stood out to House was the man's blue eyes.  After taking a bag full of cash, the robber took off on foot.

"I was just in shock," House explained.  "I just opened the drawer and gave him the money."

Police say armed robberies are extremely rare in Bedford.  The last one happened more than three years ago at the Apple Market on North Bridge Street.  The suspect in that case was connected to several other robberies in the Lynchburg area.

Bedford's police chief, Jim Day, is hoping the latest robber will be caught quickly.

"We don't want the suspect to grow confident in his ability to rob a store here," Day said, adding that the robber is a heavyset man with a distinctive walk.

The cashier hopes her description of the crime, along with surveillance images from her store, will help police make a speedy arrest.

"He needs to be caught as soon as possible," said House.

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ORIGINAL STORY:

The Bedford Police Department is investigating an armed robbery.

It happened around 9:30 p.m. Monday at the Spirit Market, which is located in the 1000 block of Moneta Road (Route 122), near its intersection with Dickerson Mill Road.

The robber pointed a handgun and told the clerk to put money in a bag. He left on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash.

If you have any information about the crime, call the Bedford Police Department at 540-587-6011.