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Clerk foils robbery at local store

SOUTH POINT – When a would-be robber told a South Point convenience store cashier to show him the money, the clerk said "Show me the gun.

Monday, October 18, 1999

SOUTH POINT – When a would-be robber told a South Point convenience store cashier to show him the money, the clerk said "Show me the gun."

After a village-wide manhunt that extended into the early morning hours today, South Point Police and Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department deputies are still searching for a man who attempted to rob the South Point Citgo Sunday, but ran away when the cashier was uncooperative.

"He was wearing a ski mask and a black jacket, and he had his hand in his pocket like he had a gun," said Citgo cashier Curtis Meade, 23. "He told me to open the register and I just said ‘Let me see the gun.’"

The man acted confused for a minute and then repeated his demand, but Meade said he only asked again to see the gun.

"We kept saying the same things to each other for a minute and finally he just told me he was going to come back with some friends. Then he ran out (of the store)," Meade said. "That’s when I called the police."

At about 10 p.m., officers arrived on the scene and began a full investigation, said Detective Rodney Armstrong of the South Point Police Department.

"The suspect fled on foot, although it is unclear as to what direction he went," Armstrong said. "We’ve taken fingerprints from the door and another piece of evidence left at the scene gave us a lead, but we have not made any arrests at this time."

Throughout the early hours of the morning, investigators followed leads and brought several suspects in for identification, but none were a match, Armstrong said.

Although the victim did not see a gun, the incident is still considered a possible attempted armed robbery, he added.

Meade, however, said that if the suspect had produced a gun for viewing, he would not have hesitated in giving access to the cash register.

"I’ve had a gun pointed at me before, and it’s not a good feeling," he said. "I’ve been over this scenario in my mind before; I guess you always wonder what you would do in a situation like that. But if he would’ve shown me the gun, I would’ve had to have opened the cash register – he could’ve taken whatever he wanted. I just knew he didn’t have one."

Citgo store owner Bruce Gallagher was notified of the attempted robbery, but was not available for comment. The incident is still under investigation and officials are asking anyone with any information related to the case to contact the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department at 532-3525, Armstrong said.

"We also are currently investigating the Sept. 29 robbery of The Bread Basket in South Point," he said. "Sometime during the night of Sept. 29 or in the early morning of Sept. 30, a subject broke a small window and stole the cash register from the store."

Investigators do not believe the two incidents are related, but because both happened within village limits, it has not been ruled out as a possibility, Armstrong said.

"Any time a resident can provide information it is helpful to us," he said. "We know the person had to be small because the window was only 11 inches tall and 30 inches wide."

Any calls or reports made to the sheriff’s department can be kept confidential, he said.