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Robber Needs Only His Bulk as a Weapon

Striking at six gas stations over nine days, a big man simply roughs up the clerks on duty.

July 30, 2003|David Haldane | Times Staff Writer

A man who uses his "massive size" as a weapon held up two more gas stations Tuesday, his fifth and sixth robberies in nine days, authorities said.

"He uses his massive size and strength as a weapon" to choke and pummel the clerks into submission, said Jim Amormino, a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department. "It's the same as pointing a gun at a person."

The series of robberies began July 21 when the man -- described as African American, 6 feet 3 to 6 feet 6, weighing 300 to 350 pounds, his head shaved and wearing a black shirt and blue jeans -- walked into a Unocal station in Mission Viejo, grabbed a clerk by the neck, slammed him against the cash register and ordered him to open it, Amormino said. Using the same method, Amormino said, the man robbed three more gas stations over the next few days, all near freeways in Seal Beach, Laguna Hills and Lake Forest.

The first of Tuesday's robberies, he said, occurred about 4 a.m. at a Chevron station near the Orange-Anaheim border. The second was about 2 1/2 hours later in Buena Park.

"We feel that, for some reason, he's becoming desperate because of the [increasing] frequency of the incidents," Amormino said. "Sometimes desperate people do desperate things. Most of the clerks have received only minor injuries, but because of his size, we are afraid that he's eventually going to hurt somebody."

The robber, who sometimes begins a heist by asking for a fresh cup of coffee, has escaped with an undisclosed amount of money in a 1997 or 1999 Dodge Ram pickup, Amormino said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Orange County Sheriff's Department at (714) 628-7170.

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