You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Stoneham storeowner tosses chili pepper in would-be robber’s face

A quick-thinking Stoneham storeowner thwarted a robbery Sunday night by throwing chili pepper in the face of the man trying to rob him at gunpoint, police said.

Saadat Khan, 49, who is no stranger to robberies – having been the victim of six in the 20 years he’s owned the C-Store on Main Street – was sweeping the floor around 9:20 p.m. when he turned to find a gun pointed in his face and a man threatening to shoot if he didn’t open the register.

Continue reading below

“I said, ‘You’re swearing to God, and you have a gun in your hand. It doesn’t make any sense to me. If you believe in God, you shouldn’t be holding a gun at my face, so you better leave,’” Khan recalled.

The robber threatened Khan again, so the storeowner moved behind the counter as if to oblige, but instead, took some of the chili powder he keeps to put on pizza and threw it in the robber’s face. Khan proceeded to punch the man and chase him out of the store.

“I’m not a hero or anything,” he said. “I’m just a normal guy trying to do my business.”

Stoneham Police Detective Christopher Dalis said that Khan chased the robber as far as George Street before retreating and coming back to the store to call the police.

“We’re currently conducting an investigation,” Dalis said. “We have some leads that we’re actively investigating.”

Dalis also said they believe this suspect is the same man who committed five other robberies in Woburn, Winchester, Melrose, and two others in Stoneham, since Oct. 30.

The suspect is believed to be a white male in his 20s, with brown eyes, toting a black handgun and wearing all black while committing the crimes, Dalis said.

Khan said he doesn’t have a lot of money or power, but what he has is an unshakable faith in God.

“If you really trust in God, nothing can happen to you. If somebody’s trying to take my life, they can’t do that. Only God can take my life.”

Sarah N. Mattero can be reached at sarah.mattero@globe.com. Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremycfox@gmail.com.
Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.