Columbia County Sheriff's Office Investigators are rarely surprised when they begin looking into a robbery of a gas station.
But when one of the suspects takes the time to wait on customers while emptying out the register, even the most seasoned investigator can be caught off guard.
According to Columbia County Sheriff's Department Investigator Wynn Howard, video taken from a hidden camera shows most of the events that took place March 17 when three people robbed the Stuckey's Amoco on South Belair Road. The thieves took the tape taken by the visible cameras.
Howard said two white males and one white female are being sought in connection with the Stuckey's robbery and one that occurred March 12 at Crown Fast Fare on Gordon Highway. He said it is not certain whether the same trio performed both robberies.
In both cases though the thieves broke an object before detaining the clerk and took money from a register and safe.
In the Stuckey's armed robbery, in which one of the suspects had a gun, Howard said one of the males was let in by a female clerk about 1 a.m. The doors are locked while the clerks clean up at night, he said.
The male went to the back of the store and pretended to be shopping. When a second male walked in, the first male broke an object and asked for a broom, Howard said. The second male followed the clerk to the back of the store, threw her in a bathroom and tied her up with T-shirts taken from a rack inside the store, Howard said.
While the first male kept an eye on the clerk, a female walked into the store and began taking money from the register. Before she could finish, two real customers walked in and bought a soda and bag of chips, respectively, Howard said.
"She starts waiting on customers and ringing up sales and making change," said Howard, who added that the female had to dip into the bag of money she had stolen to make change.
After the customers left the store, and the register were cleared the thieves emptied the safe and left. The clerk was able to free herself and call for help, Howard said.
"I think she did exactly what she was suppose to do," Howard said of the clerk. "You have to be extremely cooperative in that kind of situation."
Though the suspects have not been found, Howard said the hidden video will help identify the thieves. Plus, knowing that one of the thieves served customers while robbing the store gives investigators two potentially case breaking witnesses.
"If anyone came into that store between 1:45 and 2:30 a.m., they need to contact the sheriff's office," Howard said. "Because they actually had face to face contact with this woman and they can identify her."
Anyone with information is asked to call 541-1044 for the Stuckey's robbery and 821-1080 for the Crown Fast Fare robbery.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.