ROXBURY, NJ – It was an uneventful Saturday evening at the Serenity Smoke Shop for employee Kyle Dempsey. Then a guy with a bandana over his face walked in the back door, pointed to a gun tucked in his pants, and said “I don’t want to hurt you. Give me the keys.”
Dempsey, of Randolph, was messing around on his laptop at the Ledgewood store when the robber arrived at about 7:30 p.m. His arrival turned an uneventful night at work into a rather bizarre one.
The soft-spoken 19-year-old with long, red hair said he’s never had anything like that happen at work. “Most people are pretty cool,” he said on Sunday morning.
In fact, despite the fact that he flashed the weapon, the fellow who walked off with a $1,200 bong was pretty cool himself. He didn’t ask for the money in the cash register or grab Dempsey’s wallet. He didn’t take anything else from the store, except for a $60 torch, and he even offered to share the bounty with the stunned clerk.
“When he was leaving he said, ‘You want anything? I’ll leave it out back,’” said Dempsey.
It was clear to Dempsey that the robber knew what was in the store and knew what he wanted. The Illadelph Gold Hura Coil he took was the priciest bong in the Route 10 establishment.
“This golden monster from Illadelph is will leave you feeling like King Midas,” says one website that sells the pipe online for $1,450. The 20-inch-tall bong has gold details and and a gold coil in a clear glycerin chamber, says the description.
Dempsey said the robber made sure he found, and grabbed, the proper box for the expensive bong.
Dempsey said he has a black belt in karate. He acknowledged he thought about resisting the robbery especially when he got a look at the weapon stuck in the robber’s waistband and wondered if it was even real. “When I saw the gun, it looked strange,” he said. “It looked fake.”
Instead, Dempsey activated the store’s silent alarm and, once the robber left with the bong, called his boss. He said he also thought about pretending to take the man up on his offer of stolen stuff - just as a means of delaying things so the police could arrive - but didn’t take that route either.
Dempsey told police the robber was white, appeared to be in his early 20s and was wearing black jeans, a gray T-shirt and a white hooded sweatshirt. The thief left on foot, going out the same back door he used to enter, said Dempsey.