MESA, Ariz. -- Police have identified the woman found dead inside a Mesa smoke shop as Mi-Sum Price, aka Mimi.
A customer found her body behind the counter of Cigarettes 4 Less near Greenfield Road and Main Street Sunday night.
"I can't believe it," said customer Daniel Krugjohann. "This is a little mom-and-pop business. She was always in there all the time."
"She was the only one who ever worked here," said customer Megan Garcia. "She worked by herself."
"Every day, every day she was here from morning to night," said longtime friend and customer Anthony, who did not want to use his last name.
Loyal customers and friends have been constantly stopping by the smoke shop to pay their respects. No one is able to believe that the feisty, hard-working woman who worked there seven days a week, 12 hours a day is gone. But shortly after 7:30 p.m. Sunday, police were called to this location.
"One of the patrons went into the store to make a purchase and discovered a female behind the counter," said Mesa police Sgt. Tony Landato.
Detectives believe she was killed in a robbery gone bad and customers aren't surprised.
"I've known her nine years," Anthony said. "I know she's been robbed multiple times and she was getting fed up with it so she got a new video system."
She also posted new rules in her window requiring customers to take off their hats and glasses so they could be more easily recognized.
"She's very paranoid about people coming in and stealing stuff," said customer Gene Zeiner. "She watched them like a hawk."
"She said someone tried to rob her before and she locked them in there and called the police," Garcia said. "She always just said she could handle it."
Police aren't sure what time the robbery happened Sunday, but this is a very busy shop with very loyal customers who stopped by often, not only for cigarettes but even just for a chat.
Garcia was in just hours before that fateful attack.
"She was sweet, she was nice, we were talking, she always talks to me," Garcia said. "She said I was her first customer for the day."
Police are hopeful someone saw or heard something that will help them find this woman's killer and her loyal customers and friends also want someone to pay.
"This is just a sad, sad moment," Anthony said. "This person took away a person who meant a lot to the neighborhood and put a lot into it … I hope the person who did it gets found."
No word yet on what, if anything, the surveillance cameras picked up, but so far police do not have any sort of suspect description.
Anyone who knows anything about this case is urged to call Mesa police.