Sam Mauref said he came to this country 21 years ago and loves Chicago. There's no place better, he says, for someone from anywhere to find a job and make a life for his family. But for the fifth time in his life his place of business has been held up. And while no shots were fired, the experience shook him to the core of his existence.
Mauref and his assistant, Adam Bargouti, looked at the images from 13 surveillance cameras that captured the terror of armed men taking what isn't theirs.
The robbery was witnessed from an office, just behind the rear wall of the cashier's booth. The crooks know there was more money than just what was in the till. But the cashier points to the one-way slot to the safe, which is in the office, and says he's given all that he can.
Years ago, Mauref fought three armed men who did this to him and suffered a broken leg.
"I'm in here, I'm shaking, I can't breathe. I remember a gun to my head, and, 'Oh God, please just give him the money let him go, they won't hurt you,'" said Mauref.
That's exactly what his cashier, who was off Friday, did. But not before the men took hundreds of dollars and, despite dropping some on their way out, pushed the cashier and another clerk, who was working Friday, into the freezer. Mauref says the criminals were relatively cool, but he thought about death.
"It's like, you know, you're gonna die. You don't know when but you are already dying. You are waiting for the bullet to go in your head or in your heart," said Mauref.
The men got away by going out the back door of the station. Police have few leads in their investigation. And Mauref wants the mayor to know his frustrations.
"We are the hardworking people of your city, sir. And these guys, they just come along, they have guns. And it is too easy to get a gun and just go and pick up money," said Mauref.
Mauref says that with gas well over $4 per gallon, his station at times is like a bank. But crooks shouldn't get the idea that his or any other service station is easy to knock off.
Chicago police say they're confident that with the video they'll catch the crooks. And if you know who these men are, call Chicago police.