Portsmouth store clerk fights off gunman with trash can

Posted at 10:56 PM, Oct 20, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-21 15:21:55-04

Portsmouth, Va. - Investigators with the Portsmouth Police Department are still looking for the gunman who tried to rob a convenience store over the weekend. Security images show the man was wearing a white t-shirt over his face, pointing a handgun at Briaham Maachoui.

Maachoui owns the Old Town Market and convenience store on Portsmouth Boulevard. It all happened around 8 p.m. Saturday.

"He comes straight to the kitchen area and he pulled the gun and said 'I need the money,’" Maachoui says.

Maachoui didn't have a gun, but instead used his resourceful thinking to take action. His weapon of choice? A 40-gallon trash can.

"I hold the trash like that,” Maachoui says, demonstrating. “I just try and push him, like the cameraman, push him back, you know push him all the way to ten foot back."

As he's shoving him back, Maachoui says the man pulls the trigger.

"He shot only one shot,” he says. “He shot the gun exactly right here on the Mountain Dew, this section here."

A single bullet fired into a nearby Mountain Dew cooler, which was just a few feet from Maachoui.

Apparently pushing him with the trash can was enough; the man ran out the front door with no money in hand.

This isn't the first time he's dealt with this; Maachoui says this marks the third time an armed man has tried to rob him. Last December, two masked gunman succeeded, stealing about $400 from his store.

"We try to just protect the business,” he says. “Yeah, we're not going to hurt nobody; we just try to do the right thing."

The suspect is described as a black male standing between 5’8”-6’ tall. He weighed approximately 150 pounds and was last seen wearing a black and gray knit cap, red and black shirt, black jeans, white shoes and had mittens on his hands.

Anyone with information about this incident or the identity of the suspect pictured is asked to call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP. Callers are never asked to give their name or required to testify in court.  If a caller’s tip leads to an arrest, the recovery of drugs or stolen property they could be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.