The suspect gave her a credit card, which was declined. When she informed the man of that, his “demeanor changed” and he took a pocket knife out, Moilanen said.
Although the man did not open the pocket knife, the cashier felt threatened by it. He told her to open the cash register. The cashier opened the register, then closed it without giving the man any money.
He grabbed the bags containing the items she rang up, then left the store quickly.
Another employee, likely surmising that something was wrong, followed the suspect into the parking lot but lost sight as the man walked east toward Target.
Home Depot called the incident in to the police around 3:08 p.m. Police searched the area, but were unable to locate the suspect.
The suspect is described as a Black man in his late 20s or early 30s, standing about 6 feet tall and weighing around 300 pounds.
The man was wearing a green sweatshirt over a red t-shirt, and had a black gaiter covering his face.
Rochester police are searching for surveillance footage to try to identify the subject.
Moilanen also said La Crosse police indicated that they had experienced a similar incident at a Home Depot recently.
La Crosse dispatch was unable to verify that information or provide further context.