Explosive Thrown Into Brooklyn Mini-Mart, Setting Clerk on Fire

The suspect apparently had an argument with the store clerk

Police are searching for a man caught on surveillance video throwing a flaming bottle into a 24-hour mini-mart in Brooklyn, setting the clerk inside on fire.

The suspect had an argument with the clerk inside 3901 Fort Hamilton Parkway in Borough Park early Wednesday, according to police. The clerk, who had returned to work Thursday morning, told NBC 4 New York that the suspect got angry when the clerk refused to give him beer and cigarettes on credit.

About an hour later, the man returned to the store wearing a hooded sweatshirt and sunglasses, lit a bottle on fire, threw it into the business and then ran away, police say. 

The 34-year-old store worker's hair and jacket caught on fire.

Co-worker Fidel Perez said he heard a big boom as he was cutting bagels in the back. When he ran out and found the clerk on fire, Perez found buckets of water to douse the flames.

Police say the victim suffered minor injuries, and the store wasn't badly damaged. 

Paul Sanz, who owns the business next door, said he can't imagine why someone would fight with the cashier.

"He's the most passive, nicest guy in the world," he said. "That's the strangest part. That's why I couldn't believe it was him."

"It's a shame, he's a hard-working guy, he works nights by himself and then you got some punks that try to do that to him," he said. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.

-- Ida Siegal and Katherine Creag contributed to this report.

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