ELIZABETHTON — The officer investigating the attempted robbery of a convenience store Tuesday night concedes that the aggressiveness displayed by the clerk prevented her store from being robbed, but he said he does not recommend such action, especially since the robber had a gun.
The robber failed to get any money. He was able to escape, but not before having his face scratched by the clerk.
Investigator Chris Bowers was clearly impressed by the clerk’s bravery and tenacity when he discussed the robbery attempt.
“She is just a small woman, about 5 feet, 2 inches tall, but she was determined,” Bowers said. He spent several hours with her after the robbery and said she was in good spirits and had a good sense of humor.
The robber entered the Sunshine Market, 825 N. Lynn Ave., about 6:15 p.m. Tuesday. Bowers said the robber was wearing a motocross-style mask that covered part of his face, but he had a reddish-blond mustache and a pale complexion. He was about 5 feet, 9 inches tall and thin, about 160 pounds. He was holding a small pistol.
Bowers said there was one customer in the store, a woman who had just purchased a lottery ticket. Bowers said the robber grabbed the customer, holding her by the neck and pointing his gun at her. He demanded her money, but she told him she had just spent her money.
The customer pleaded with the robber that he was choking her. The clerk rushed around the long counter to help the woman. When she reached the other side, she pushed the man and he tripped over a stack of soft drink cases behind him. He fell down.
Bowers said the robber and the clerk continued to struggle and she scratched him on the nose and lips. She was able to push him outside, but he then used the gun to smash part of the store’s glass.
The clerk said the man drove away in a white car. She said her glasses had been knocked off and she could not say what type of car it was. It headed toward the Blackbottom community. The clerk said the man smelled of alcohol.
Bowers took the clerk to Johnson City Medical Center, not because she was injured but because he hoped the scratches she had made in the man’s face would mean some of his DNA was under her fingernails. He wanted someone especially trained in collecting the evidence to gather the clippings.
Bowers said anyone with information on the robbery or the identity of the robber should call the Elizabethton Police Department at 547-6250 or the Crimestoppers Hotline at 423-7574.