The search is on for a burly thug who brandished an automatic handgun and took $1,000 from the Toms River Elks lodge early Wednesday.

Toms River Elks Lodge robbery (Ocean County Signal via YouTube)

Police say it was just after midnight when the suspect entered the lodge on Washington Street near Clifton Avenue. The 70-year-old bartender was preparing to lock up for the night and a 66-year-old woman who belongs to the lodge was also inside.

According to Chief Mike Mastronardy, the bartender put up a fight and the thief managed to break free after knocking over a stool...but not before a woman clipped him in the head with a bottle. Neither victim complained of injuries. Mastronardy says the bandit ran off along Clifton Street with the cash.

Police are asking for help in tracking down the suspect. He's described as heavy-set, about 6'1", with dark curly hair. He was wearing a dark blue parka and dark skull cap, with a blue-and-white bandana covering his head.

Toms River Patrolman Chris McDowell and K-9 Officer Steve Eubanks are investigating along with the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department and Detectives Randy Petrick and Roger Hull. Detective Bureau Captain Bruce Burgess will accept confidential information at 349-0150, extension 1200.

Video courtesy Ocean County Signal