By Dan Nienaber
Free Press Staff Writer
MANKATO — Police are searching for a 22-year-old Chicago man who allegedly attempted to rob the co-owner of a neighborhood grocery store Wednesday night.
George Mocol was leaving the store with a money bag at about 9:15 p.m. when he said he was jumped by a man he didn't recognize. The man was attempting to grab the bag while Mocol fought him off. Eventually Mocol's brothers, Greg and Tom, and a store employee came outside to help.
At that point another man the Mocols recognized as a customer, 18-year-old Shaquille Deandre McNair of Mankato, stepped out and "pretended to be a mediator," George Mocol said.
McNair was arrested and was brought to jail early Thursday morning. The other man, who police suspect was Gilbert Paul Neal, ran away. Neal, who also goes by the name Chaynce (pronounced "chance"), has been staying with acquaintances he knows in Mankato for awhile. Officers thought they had found him Thursday so investigators waited until today to release information about the robbery, said Det. Cmdr. Matt DuRose of the Mankato Department of Public Safety.
"He knows people from Chicago now living in the Mankato area," DuRose said. "He's aware that we're looking for him."
DuRose said Neal is black, about 6' tall and has an average build.
After George Mocol put up a fight, the man who jumped him claimed to have a gun, but no gun was found and Mocol said he never saw a gun. There have been other incidents at the neighborhood store that is kept busy by regular customers who stop in for everything from frozen chicken wings to a can of powdered cocoa to a pack of smokes and a candy bar. But George Mocol said this is the first time he has been jumped by a would-be robber.
"We've never had much of a problem," he said. "Like I told the police, if you're around long enough, stuff just happens."
McNair remains in the Blue Earth County Jail pending robbery-related charges.