As the sun rose this morning, a convenience store clerk in Howell Township stared at the barrel of a gun as the shop was robbed. Police now are in search of the thief who held the trigger.

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A suspect descrbied as a white male, wearing a black mask, held up the Country Farms store on Route 524, Adelphia Road, at about 5:40 AM, according to police.

The employee told investigators that the individual pointed a black, semi-automatic handgun, demanded cash and Marlboro Red cigarettes, stuffed it all into a bag and left wtihout fireing a shot. The owrker was not injured, police said.

Anyone with knowledge of the incident, or in the vicinity at the time, should e-mail Detective Corporal Nancy Carroll, or reach her at 732-938-4575, extension 2884. Tips can be left anonymously through the Howell PD online tip portal.

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