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Robber injects unusual weapon into his thievery

By THOMAS LAKE
Published April 12, 2007


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NEW PORT RICHEY - The robber flashed a gun one time, a knife the next. Then he broke out the viruses.

In what authorities say was probably his sixth robbery since February, a thin young man in a crimson T-shirt walked into a convenience store March 31 holding a syringe that appeared to be full of blood.

He offered the clerk two choices.

Give me the money.

Or I give you AIDS.

The encounter lasted 35 seconds. It took place around 6 a.m. at the BP station at State Road 54 and Grand Boulevard. It was captured on surveillance video and made public Wednesday by the Pasco County Sheriff's Office as part of an intensifying manhunt.

Most surveillance video is silent. This clip has sound - albeit cluttered with background noise - and dialogue.

This is a reporter's best attempt at transcribing the conversation. Parts of the exchange are unintelligible.

It begins when the robber comes to the counter and asks for lottery tickets. His hands are not in view, so it is hard to see what he is holding. But he says this:

"There's AIDS in there."

The clerk, a fortyish man with a mustache, says something about the cost of the tickets.

"Listen," the robber says. He is wearing long baggy shorts that sag to reveal his boxers. "There's AIDS in this...."

"Get the money out the register. Get the money out the register. Get the money out the register."

He leaves the frame.

"Dude," the clerk says.

"I'm coming behind there," the robber says, "and expletive inject."

"Stay right there," the clerk says.

"I'm telling you," the robber says.

"Dude," the clerk says, waving his right index finger. "Just go. Just leave."

Voices rise. The robber reappears, this time behind the counter. But the clerk stands fast.

"Dude!" he yells. "Just leave! Come on."

The robber is resolute.

"Gimme the money," he says. "I will inject you."

This seems to work. The clerk opens the register and hands over a tray containing an undisclosed sum of cash.

"Just go back on your side!" he says. They talk over each other in an incomprehensible storm.

"There ain't nothin' in there, though," the clerk says. "It ain't worth all that."

He seems dejected, resigned, almost ashamed on the robber's behalf.

"It ain't even worth all that, man."

The robber walks away, looking down at his cash.

Thomas Lake can be reached at tlake@sptimes.com or 1-800-333-7505, ext. 6245.

Fast Facts:

Do you know this man?

The robber is described as a white man, 18 to 26 years old, about 5 feet 10 and 130 to 150 pounds, with dark buzz-cut hair. Anyone with information about the robberies is asked to call Detective Chris Beaman of the county Sheriff's Office toll-free at 1-800-854-2862, ext. 7841.

[Last modified April 12, 2007, 00:29:19]


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