Taser stuns driver in cigarette heist
By LEANORA MINAI
© St. Petersburg Times,
ST. PETERSBURG -- Herbert Mole was unloading cigarettes outside a Walgreens Tuesday when something sharp pierced his back.
An electrical current surged through his body, freezing him in place on the delivery truck.
"Police! Police! Police!" shouted Mole, 60, as he convulsed uncontrollably from the voltage.
In a flash, two men made off with 150 cartons of cigarettes worth $4,200. At the hospital, Mole had a barb from a Taser gun removed from his back.
A Taser shoots wire with sharp fish hook-like barbs that send electrical charges.
Police were searching Tuesday for the robbers, who wore brown uniforms and drove a white pickup truck with a yellow license tag that resembled a municipal plate. They had only a partial physical description: Both were black males, one in his 40s with a stocky build. One was about 5 feet 6 and one might have been wearing a hat.
"This is real different," said Detective Terrell Skinner. "We usually don't get those kind of robberies."
The men probably stole the cigarettes to sell them, Skinner said.
The heist happened just before 9 a.m. when Mole, a delivery man for 35 years, parked his truck behind the Walgreens at 3700 34th St. N.
Mole, who works for H.T. Hackney Co., was on the truck checking inventory when the barbs were fired from a Taser. One barb hit Mole's order clipboard; the other struck his back.
Mole turned around and saw a man pointing a gun, which he later learned was a Taser. Mole shouted, and the robbers gave him a look, he said, as if to say, "Fool, shut up."
"But I didn't shut up," Mole said.
He jumped off the truck and ran to the store's drive-through window. He pressed the window buzzer, but no clerks came.
"I said I better keep going before they catch me and kill me," Mole said.
With the barb lodged in his back, he ran to the front of Walgreens. All he could think of was his son, Herbert Mole Jr., 33, who was shot and killed two years ago in St. Petersburg.
"I thought, 'Oh Lord, they're coming to get me,' " Mole said. "I took off like a rabbit. No sticking around."
Mole was released from Bayfront Medical Center a few hours after the robbery after doctors removed the barb and gave him a tetanus injection.
"I'm shaky," Mole said, "but I feel okay."
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