Beaufort police officers responded at about 8:50 p.m. Wednesday to an armed robbery that happened at the Publix at 163 Sea Island Parkway.
"That's one of our regular stops. These grocery stores on Lady's Island, we're in and out two or three times a week," said a shopper.
According to witnesses, a man went into the store, approached the customer service counter and demanded money from the employee behind the counter, according to Beaufort police. The employee complied and the suspect placed the money in a plastic bag and fled the scene. The suspect was last seen running from the business.
Investigators say it appeared to be a spur-of-the-moment robbery.
"He had on a black sweater that was concealing his face. He did not come with a bag. He took the bag that was at the counter ... and she placed the money into the shopping bag, at which time he exited the store," said Investigator Joshua Dowling, of the Beaufort Police Dept.
Officers and deputies set up a perimeter and K-9 units tried to find the suspect, but he got away.
They had a track from main entrance to Publix to the Food Lion parking lot, but at that point they lost the track, which indicates it wasn't a good track or the suspect got into a getaway vehicle."
The robbery is the latest of a string of crimes to hit the area, which include a sexual assault in broad daylight and the robbery of a man at a safe deposit box.
The suspect is described as an African-American man in his 20s with a medium height and thin build. He was dressed in black and was wearing a black cloth over his face. He was armed with a small silver handgun.
Many are concerned.
"The way the economy is and all that, it seems like people are doing crazy things," said resident Cliff Keith.
Those with with information on this case are asked to call Investigator Dowling at 322.7950 or the dispatch office at 524.2777.