VIDEO: Masked man robs West Knoxville market in women’s clothing


KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Surveillance video captured a bizarre robbery at B.J.’s Market Sunday night and was used to help identify a suspect.

Sammy Dobbins, 41, faces multiple charges including aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary. Arif Abbasi, owner of B.J.’s Market on 2711 Sutherland Avenue said he got a call from his employee Sunday night saying the store had just been robbed. As soon as he saw the surveillance video he said he knew exactly who had robbed his store because it was one of his regular customers.

“He comes 6, 7 times a day,” said Abbasi, who said the robber in the video had a particular walk, which he recognized. Even with a shotgun and an all-pink getup as a disguise, Abbasi said there was no question who was behind the robbery. “I can tell that’s him.”

The robbery took less than a minute. Surveillance video shows the robber entering the store, pointing a shotgun at a customer and a store employee. He then demands cash from the register, keeping the gun pointed at the cashier. The robber finally walks out with the whole cash drawer and close to $1,000.

Full surveillance video

“It really shocked me because he was very nice very polite all the time. I never had a problem with him,” said Abbasi. “A lot of my customers heard and they’re shocked too.”

Nice and polite aside, Abbasi thinks the robber had learned the schedule at the store and knew exactly when to come in. “We always try to count the money at that time, and I think he knows about it, that we count the money,” he said. “Now we’ll have to change the schedule!”

Abbasi said the store was robbed once before. Both times, he said, his surveillance video helped law enforcement work the case. That’s something he hopes other robbers will remember before trying to hit up his store: even if he’s not there, his cameras are always watching.

“There’s no doubt about mine,” said Abbasi. “If you do it, you will get caught. That’s for sure.”

Knoxville Police Department said B.J.’s Market wasn’t Dobbins’ last stop Sunday night. They caught him leaving a house through a window and found out he had burglarized another house before that. In addition to the money from the store, he had jewelry, a wallet and prescription medication that didn’t belong to him.

Dobbins bond was set at $75,000 and a hold was placed on him out of Blount County.

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