After supper, one evening, our son, Russ, who was 16 at the time, decided to walk to our neighborhood 7-11 store, a block away, and look at the motor magazines. He knew that his friend, Russ Turley, was on duty that night and would let him browse as long as he liked.
Russ got to the store and started scanning the magazines. He enjoyed all of them that had to do with cars and engines…Motor Trend, Road and Track, Hot Rod, and the rest. Meanwhile, Turley is busy straightening up the counter displays and getting ready for the business of the evening.
Both boys happened to glance out the front window at the same time and were curious at what they saw. Three young men were coming from the intersection and were headed straight for them. The guys looked out of place, like they didn’t belong there. The three men entered the store and immediately fanned out. The first guy stays near the cash register, the second guy goes all the way to the back and stops beside the milk case, and the third guy goes to the last aisle and takes a spot about half way down.
Russ is pretty savvy and immediately figures out what is going on. He starts edging toward the door. Just as his hand touches the push bar, he gets a chill as Bad Guy Number One presses the business end of a revolver to his forehead. “Back up”, he says to Russ. Russ moves back to where he was standing and waits to see what will happen next. The bad guy is starting to get nervous and fidgets a little and then tells Russ Turley to empty the cash register. The intensity of the moment had increased to to the point that Turley was fumbling around and couldn’t get the register open. By now, the bad guy is freaking out and starts yelling. Turley keeps stabbing at the keys with his fingers and finally gets the cash drawer open. The bad guy is both surprised and disgusted when Turley pulled out what little cash there was and handed it over. “Where’s the rest of it?” I just started my shift and it’s been kind of slow tonight”, says Turley. The would-be robber absorbs this news and orders the boys to empty their pockets. This exercise just yields a few cents and makes the atmosphere even more tense.
Finally realizing that this caper is a lost cause, Bad Guy Number One starts waving the gun around and herds the boys toward the back of the store. There is an office back there with an entrance just behind the beer cooler. He pushes the
boys into the office, orders them to sit down on the floor and says they had better not move until they count to one hundred. Turley just nods, but our Russ says “I’ll count to one million!”
The robbers left and Russ Turley called the police and called his boss. When the cops arrived, they interviewed the boys to get descriptions and any other meaningful information the guys could come up with. Fortunately, in his perusal of the magazine rack, Russ also looked at the hunting and fishing and gun magazines. This made it possible for him to identify the pistol as a Colt revolver rather than a Smith and Wesson.
The police came back around the next day. They had caught the three guys and said they were responsible for a number of robberies in small towns around the county. They concentrated on convenience stores that were located close to freeways so they could get away quick. Russ was asked to look at some photos and and help identify the bad guys. One quick look was all it took for Russ to tell the police he couldn’t help them. For one thing, he didn’t have an opportunity to stare at them. Next, one guy had a curly beard, one had a scraggly beard, and one had a full blown Afro. The photos the police had with them were of three clean shaven guys with fresh haircuts. The cops said it was okay because they had enough evidence to put them away.
Dave, Pat, and Russ Thomas
May 2, 2017