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Police Show No Mercy To Merciful Convenience Store Owner

New York store owner tells his story to Newsday

NEW YORK (CBS/AP) Last week he was a hero for giving charity to a bat-wielding man who tried to rob his store. But now his Good Samaritan badge has gone up in smoke.

Mohammad Sohail (So-HAIL) gained national notoriety when a security camera video showing him disarm a would-be robber, offer him $40 and food and then convert him to Islam, spread across television and the Internet. Sohail called the police but did not want to press charges against the man.

Now police are pressing charges against Sohail, who, they claim, sold illegal drug paraphernalia to undercover cops at his Long Island, N.Y. store, including bongs, pipes, and screens most often used for smoking marijuana.

Sohail claimed he did not know it was a crime, but Suffolk County district attorney Thomas Spota said otherwise.

"I've got some great weed that's gonna go great in that bong," Sporta claimed undercover officers told Sohail before they purchased the paraphernalia. The revelations came during a press conference in which Sporta held up a glass bong.

NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED
Sohail was at his store in Shirley, New York on May 21st, when a man came in and tried to rob the place. Sohail pulled a gun to defend himself. The suspect dropped to his knees and begged for forgiveness, claiming he was down on his luck and just trying to feed his family. Sohail put the gun down, gave the would-be robber $40 and a loaf of bread, then converted him to Islam.

Sohail's store was one of seven businesses cited Tuesday. He's accused of violating state business laws.

Prosecutors say undercover officers bought bongs and pipe screens at the store three times in recent weeks.

Sohail said Thursday he did not know the items were not permitted to be sold. He has a June 10 court date on the citation, which isn't a criminal charge. It's punishable by a fine of up to $30,000.

(CBS)
Surveillance still of Mohammad Sohail subduing a would-be robber.

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  • Neil Katz

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