"It was terrible, it's horrifying,” said Abraham Haptemaran.
He was pepper-sprayed and robbed in less than six seconds.
“It was painful, all over my face, my neck,” he said.
Haptemaran was on his way in to a PNC bank in the Chevy Chase area of D.C. on Connecticut Avenue.
"He just came from inside the door and then he just sprayed and grabbed,” said Haptemaran.
Out the bank door came this unsuspecting thief wearing glasses, dressed in a suit and with an overcoat.
"When he pepper-sprayed my face, I just saw a little bit at the beginning, then after that, I was just fading because I couldn't see,” the victim said.
The well-dressed bandit then pushed Haptemaran to the ground and struggled with his victim until he finally got away with a bag full of cash. It was a large amount of money from a day's work at Haptemaran's 7-Eleven store.
For the first time, Haptemaran watched himself getting robbed. It is an experience he would have likely avoided had his usual bank been open for business. Instead, he went to a different branch where he met his attacker.
"I will never go there again,” he said. “In 28 years, I never had a problem. This is my first time."
He added, "Thank God that I was alive so I was praying to myself that it could be worse. Money is not everything.”
People we spoke with say this is a normally safe area. Haptemaran says there were witnesses who saw this all go down, and in the struggle, some of his money actually spilled out of his bag and into a walkway.
Haptemaran tells us the thief got into a nearby car and police have found the vehicle.
If you have any information about this robbery is asked to call police at (202) 727-9099 or text your tip to the Department's TEXT TIP LINE at 50411.