SKOWHEGAN — A masked man wearing gloves and brandishing a knife robbed the Irving Circle K store on Madison Avenue early Monday, then demanded the clerk’s car keys and drove off with all the money from the register.

The car was soon ditched a short distance away on Smith Street. A sheriff’s department canine tracked the robber to a house at 42 Beech Street. A search warrant was carried out at the house where “many items of evidence” were collected, but no one was arrested.

The thief remained at large Monday afternoon.

The clerk was not injured, but Skowhegan Police Chief Ted Blais said the arrival of a customer at the store during the robbery just after 2:15 a.m. appears to have prevented a possible assault on the clerk.

“I watched the video and it looked as though it could have been bad,” Blais said. “It started off she was cooperative and gave him the money, and it looked as though there could have been a problem there, and a customer drove in and so he left — he was getting a little pushy with her.”

The robber is described as a young, white male about six feet tall and of medium build. He was dressed in a hooded overcoat and gloves with a red bandanna covering his face, according to Blais.

“He went in and demanded money from the clerk — a good amount of money,” he said.

Blais said the robber made off with the clerk’s maroon 1999 Ford Escort. A Madison police officer spotted the car at 2:28 a.m. in the area of Smith Street, between Hanover and Silver streets, where it had been abandoned. The car was impounded and taken to the sheriff’s office at the county jail in East Madison. The investigation continued Monday afternoon.

Anyone with information on the robbery is asked to call the sheriff’s department at 474-6386.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367 | [email protected] | Twitter: @Doug_Harlow