Deli Owner Who Took Pity On Thief Now Faces Fine For Selling Bongs

It’s been a busy few weeks for Mohammad Sohail, a Pakistani immigrant who owns and operates a Deli in Long Island, NY. On May 21st a masked man tried to rob him, but Sohail pulled a rifle on the guy. Then he made him promise to never rob anyone again, and handed him $40 and a loaf of bread.

Although not every news report mentioned this detail, he even got the robber to convert to Islam, albeit perhaps temporarily:

“When he gets $40, he’s very impressed, he says, ‘I want to be a Muslim just like you,’ ” Sohail said, adding he had the would-be criminal recite an Islamic oath.

“I said ‘Congratulations. You are now a Muslim and your name is Nawaz Sharif Zardari.'”

When asked why he chose the hybrid of two Pakistani presidents’ names, the Pakistani immigrant laughed and said he had been watching a South Asian news channel moments before the confrontation.

Sohail said the man fled the store when he turned away to get the man some free milk.

On Tuesday, the story broke across the mainstream media, and Sohail has been enjoying some hero limelight for his bravery and compassion.

That same day, however, his shop was raided as part of a city-wide drug bust:

The same day Mohammad Sohail’s big heart earned him nationwide fame, his store in Shirley, L.I., was one of seven businesses raided by town investigators.

Pipes and bongs were seized from Shirley Express on Tuesday night, and the 46-year-old was charged with breaking Brookhaven town codes, a civil violation.

He does not face criminal charges, but will likely have to pay a hefty fine.

The Associated Press reports that 3 times in recent weeks, undercover officers bought bongs and pipe screens at the deli, and that the violation is punishable by a fine of up to $30,000.

Well, we still think you’re pretty cool, Sohail. Maybe all the pot smokers of Shirley, Long Island should pitch in and help you pay off that fine! Umm, yeah, probably not.

Below is store security footage of the thwarted robbery:

“Merciful storekeeper changes robber’s mind, religion” [CNN]
“Mohammad Sohail, store owner who took pity on robber, busted for selling illegal drug paraphernalia” [Newsday]

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