Man robs Tacoma business owner at gunpoint, thanked her after the robbery

A masked man pulled a gun out on a grandmother and robbed her while she worked at her North Tacoma convenience store on Tuesday night. 

The owner, Lakhena Pon, says she was working by herself. She said a customer came up to the counter with a soda, but instead of pulling out money, he pulled out a gun. 

"Scary. I look at him, and he said ‘give me the money.’ So, I pulled, yeah, I gave to him," she said.

Pon has owned the business for more than 30 years. She says this is the first time it has been robbed. Now, the place where she has watched her children grow no longer feels safe.

"I hope he’s not coming back, you know? I pray," she said.

Surveillance footage captured the entire incident.

The gunman is masked, but video shows him wearing several different identifying items, including a key on a chain around his neck, and a Guess corduroy bomber jacket.

After robbing Pon, you can hear the suspect say, "thank you" on the surveillance footage. 

Surveillance video also shows the suspect run out to a KIA waiting in the parking lot. The KIA looks like it has "For Sale" and a 253-phone number written on the windows. There is also at least one other person in the car.

"It’s tough. So, last night when I went home, hard for me to sleep," said Pon.

Despite dealing with this traumatic event, Pon returned to her shop just a few hours later. Pon says it is just her and her husband working at the shop. So, she doesn’t have any other option.

"They’re here all the time. Even on the holidays, she’s here. She works her butt off," said Joey Hakanson, a regular at Pon’s business.

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The convenience store is a staple in the North Tacoma community. Many shoppers like Hakanson were shocked and heartbroken to hear about the robbery.

"My son and I worry about you all the time," said Hakanson to Pon as she checked out.

Tacoma Police are investigating.

Crime Stoppers is also offering a reward of up to $1,000 for any tips that lead to an arrest. You can submit an anonymous tip on the P3 Tips App or by calling 1-800-222-TIPS.