Armed robbery at kosher deli

By Jonathan Kalmus, August 8, 2008

Three masked robbers armed with knives and a hammer threatened staff at Shefa Mehadrin Kosher Deli in Manchester, before ripping out its till.

The robbery, which lasted just two minutes, began when the three men entered the shop at 8pm last Thursday shouting.

“One held a hammer high in the air and shouted, ‘open up the tills’, said Gavriel Jacobson, who was shopping inside at the time. “Everyone froze, then they pulled out the whole till and ran away.”

Around 20 people were inside the shop at the time.

Cash was strewn over the pavement outside the popular deli on Bury New Road, in Prestwich, as the men made their getaway in a blue Daewoo Matiz. A car-chase ensued when the store owner gave chase in his Mercedes.

“They were driving like crazy, weaving in and out of the traffic,” said Shefa’s owner, Motti Gershon. “I didn’t get the number plate because they covered it with a black bag.”

A 23-year-old store assistant, who manned the stolen till, said: “I was worried I would get stabbed. One of them tried to open the till with his knife.”

No-one was injured in the incident. Police closed the store but it reopened an hour later, with shoppers returning to buy food for Shabbat.

Mr. Gershon, 39, who settled in Prestwich from Jerusalem over 20 years ago, said the robbers escaped with little money as his tills are emptied regularly. This is the first time the store has been targeted by robbers since it opened two years ago.

The three men were described as white, in their twenties and wearing dark clothes and balaclavas.

Last updated: 11:01am, August 8 2008