"he just lifted his top and showed me it."
A shopworker has spoken of the moment he was forced to take shelter in a customer’s car during a horror machete robbery.
Nagaraju Arepelly had been working behind the till at the Night and Day store, on Gracemount Drive in Edinburgh, when the drama unfolded on January 9, 2022.
The 29-year-old shopworker had been working in the convenience store alone when the terrifying situation unfolded and a thief approached the till.
It wasn’t until he revealed a weapon, concealed underneath his top, that the stunned shopkeeper realised what was happening.
Nagaraju Arepelly said: “He wanted me to give him money and everything.
“I said ‘what’ and he lifted his t-shirt and showed me the weapon.
“I don’t know for sure what weapon it was, he didn’t pull it out, he just lifted his top and showed me it.
“It was black in colour, I don’t know what it was.”
Eyewitnesses are understood to have reported to police that the weapon resembled a ‘machete’.
The thief lunged over the till as he scrambled to steal cash.
The quick-thinking shopworker ran outside in a bid to lock the thief in the store but realised his keys were still inside.
A customer parked outside, who saw what was happening, called Nagaraju Arepelly to take refuge in her car.
He said: “I just started moving away, as soon as I took three steps away, he jumped over the till and was touching this and that.
“I tried to go outside and lock him in but I forgot my key while he was still behind the till so I couldn’t go back.
“When I came outside and shouted, the lady I’d served just before was about to start her car when she suddenly shouted at me to come and get in the car.
“I got in the car and we were calling the police.”
Nagaraju Arepelly had been working in the shop alone at the time of the incident and hadn’t noticed the thief come in.
He said: “His face was completely covered with a mask.
“I couldn’t even see his eyes, they were completely covered.”
“I wasn’t scared at all, I was surprised because I saw the lady just a few seconds before and assumed he was a customer.”
The thief managed to grab around £500 before armed police officers arrived at the store.
Nagaraju said he has had some issues with kids ‘teasing’ him before but this is the first incident of its kind while he has worked at the local store.
Despite his ordeal, Nagaraju continued his shift that night and was back behind the till on January 10, 2022.
He added: “I worked until 7 pm last night, I don’t want to be scared.
“This is the first time for me, I never run away from anything.”
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “We were called around 2:55 pm on Sunday 9 January, to a report of a robbery at premises in Gracemount Drive, Edinburgh.
“Officers, including firearms officers, attended.
“No one was injured and enquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstances.”