A man who attempted an armed robbery at a Sobey's smoke shop in Charlottetown Friday threatened to give the clerk HIV, says police Sgt. Walter Vessey.

Vessey said the threat is becoming more common in robberies, with people typically displaying a hypodermic needle with blood in it.

"In this case the gentleman didn't have a needle, he had a drill-bit," he said.

"Quite often the people who do these robberies are intravenous drug users who are desperate to get money. They've found it an effective means to get people to comply with their wishes."

Vessey said police have been working on several leads, and hope to make an arrest soon. The incident is caught on a security camera, and is posted to the Charlottetown police website.