The New Haven Police Department is looking for two armed robbers who threatened employees at Papi’s Convenience Store near East Rock before leaving with $200 the morning of Nov. 6.

Two masked men robbed the New Haven convenience store at gunpoint at approximately 10 a.m. last Monday, according to an NHPD press release. Police spokesman David Hartman said police are working to find the perpetrators, but he declined to release further information about the investigation. The press release said detectives from the department’s Robbery-Burglary Unit have taken over the investigation.

“It is not possible for police to stop armed robberies [from happening] because robberies and burglaries are crimes of convenience,” Hartman told the News.

According to the NHPD, the robbers entered the convenience store while three employees were inside the building, one of whom ran out of the store when the robbers entered. One of the robbers pointed a semi-automatic gun at an employee behind the counter. The second robber, armed with a knife, threatened to kill the same employee after he moved away from the gunman. In response, the employee opened the lottery and cash registers and handed $200 — the total contained in both registers — to the masked robber. Another employee was standing near the back of the store when the robbers entered, the NHPD said.

Osiris Almonte, the owner of the convenience store, was in the store during the robbery and said one of the employees who remained inside the store was herded behind the counter to join his co-worker by the robber who was wielding the knife.

The third employee, who left the store through a backdoor when he saw the armed criminals enter, threw a piece of concrete at the robbers, who responded by firing a shot at him. The bullet missed and the criminals fled the scene, heading down South Street, according to the NHPD.

The gunman was described in the press release as a muscular, 5-foot-8-inch, 30-year-old man. The second man, who was armed with a knife, was the same height and frame, according to the press release. Although the gunman was masked, Almonte said, the mask slipped as he was fighting with the employee at the counter, and he was able to see the robber’s face. None of the employees were injured.

Shoppers at Papi’s Convenience Store expressed concern about the robbery. Monica Brown said she is concerned that such incidents are taking place in her neighborhood.

Camelo Ortiz, a New Haven resident who owns two barber shops on the same street as Papi’s, said these kinds of crimes have made the neighborhood unsafe for schoolchildren, who often gather near the store in the morning.

Papi’s Convenience Store is located at 1312 State St.

Christina Carrafiell |