SKOWHEGAN — A masked man wearing gloves and carrying 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 Somerset County Sheriff’s Department dog tracked the robber to a house at 42 Beech St.

Police armed with a search warrant collected “many items of evidence” at the house, but no one was arrested, police said.

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 shortly 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 was described as a young white male about 6 feet tall with a medium build.

He was dressed in a hooded overcoat and gloves with a red bandanna covering his face, Blais said.

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

Blais said the robber made off with the clerk’s maroon 1999 Ford Escort. A Madison police officer spotted the car shortly before 2:30 a.m. in the area of Smith Street, 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 about the robbery is asked to call the sheriff’s department at 474-6386.

Doug Harlow can be contacted at 612-2367 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @Doug_Harlow