The person shown in surveillance photos entered the store around 10 a.m. and picked up merchandise from the cooler, Chief Chuck Hasty said in a statement.
At checkout he told the cashier it was a robbery attempt and implied use of a weapon, although one was never displayed.
The person fled the store without getting anything from the cashier and was last seen running toward the rear of the store in the area of South and Drake streets.
The person in the photos is described as tall and bald and having a light complexion. He was wearing sunglasses, a dark hooded sweatshirt, dark sweatpants and tan boots.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact law enforcement; the police department at 252-533-2810; Detective G.L. Williams at 252-533-2821 or Crimestoppers at 252-583-4444.