Howard County police Friday are looking for a man who strapped what appeared to be sticks of dynamite to his chest and robbed the Safeway grocery store at Enchanted Forest Shopping Center in Ellicott City Thursday evening, fleeing with an undetermined amount of cash.
The thief approached the office area of the store about 6:30 p.m. Thursday and handed workers a note, demanding money. The man opened his coat, displaying what store employees believed to be dynamite strapped to his chest.
The employees gave the man an undetermined amount of cash and the robber fled.
Police Sgt. Steven Keller said it is unclear whether the man had real dynamite, but he added that store employees took appropriate precautions in assuming the explosives were real.
"You have to do what you think is the best thing at the time," Sergeant Keller said. "We have had robberies in the past -- in Howard and surrounding jurisdictions -- in which look-alikes have been used. Obviously, if we're able to locate a suspect and arrest him, we'll find out if it was real."
The thief is described as a 45- to 50-year-old black male, 5 feet 7 to 5 feet 10 inches tall, 220 to 240 pounds, with black and gray hair, a beard and wearing clear plastic glasses or goggles.
If you have information for the Ellicott City/Elkridge report, call Shanon D. Murray at 715-2831 during the day or leave a message on the tip line after hours.