Teens rob Auburn store after clerk collapses from heart attack, police say

Clerk Zarif Kelada poses with his three children a few months ago (Photo provided by family member)

by KOMO Staff

AUBURN, Wash. — Human decency took a back seat in Auburn Saturday when a man and two teens left a clerk suffering a heart attack to die, but not before helping themselves to the cash in the till and several other items in the store, police said.

“It just blows my mind. It breaks our hearts,” said store manager Angela Sharapova. “We can’t believe that this happened.”

Police later said they had identified all three suspects, who were captured on the store’s surveillance video, and asked for the public’s help in tracking them down.

It was just after 5:30 p.m. when a man and two teen boys went into a Shell station on Auburn Way South. One of the teens grabbed a pepperoni stick and began to eat it, then grabbed a second one and handed to the other teen. As the man went to pay for an item, the clerk apparently tried to charge him for the two pepperoni sticks and an argument ensued, police said.


One of the teens gave the clerk $1 at which point the clerk became upset and went up to the teens to talk to them. After talking with the boys, the clerk turns around and then collapses to the floor from an apparent medical issue.

“He was saying ‘This is wrong and you have to pay for it.’ And at this point, he stepped back to behind the counter and that’s when he collapsed,” Sharapova said.

But instead of calling for help, the teen takes the $1 bill back then they all three leave the store, but the two teens return a couple of times to steal cigarettes and take money from the cash register, police said, all the while ignoring the unconscious clerk on the ground. Sharapova says the teens made off with $178.

“Going in and out three times. While he’s on the floor in agony,” Sharapova said.

Three minutes passed until another customer arrived and discovered the clerk on the ground.

“He asked the people that were outside at the pump to call 911; he rushed back inside and started performing CPR on the (clerk),” Sharapova said. “I don’t know who these people are, but they are the true angels.”

The clerk was taken to an Auburn hospital where he is still alive, but on life support.

“It just breaks our hearts,” Sharapova said. “Now this guy is fighting for his life. He has three little children. He has a stay-at-home wife. We just pray to God that he makes it.”

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the family of the clerk.

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