Authorities search for man who robbed an Independence store clerk at Tuesday _lowres

Photo provided by the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff -- Armed robbery suspect of the Family Dollar Store located at 428 Hwy 40 W. Independence, La.

A knife-wielding robber briefly took a store clerk hostage in Independence on Tuesday and is now on the loose after fleeing the store with cash, according to the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office.

About 10:30 a.m., the suspect entered the Family Dollar at 429 La. 40 and stalked around the retailer “looking as though he were casing the store,” the Sheriff’s Office wrote in a Wednesday news release.

After a few minutes, the man walked out to his truck in the parking lot and removed its license plate.

He walked back inside and went behind the counter, putting a knife under the store clerk’s neck and threatening to hurt her if she didn’t open the cash register, the release states.

A second employee opened the till, which the robber emptied before running out with an undetermined amount of money.

The man fled the scene, and the Sheriff’s Office is asking the public for help tracking him down. The robber is described as a white male in his late 20s to middle 30s who was driving a brown Chevrolet Avalanche truck. Anyone with information on the case may call Crime Stoppers at (800) 554-5245.