OK - Police: Store Robbed During Phone Outage

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Police: Store Robbed During Phone Outage

By NICOLE MARSHALL World Staff Writer

6/23/00 A widespread telephone outage prevented a convenience store clerk from calling police after a man robbed the store and threatened to kill her, police said Thursday.

But a Tulsa World newspaper carrier arrived minutes after the Tuesday morning robbery and drove to another convenience store, where an officer was posted, to report the crime, Officer Lucky Lamons said.

Police are searching for the suspect in the robbery at the Git 'N' Go at 6948 E. Pine St.

Lamons said police reports indicate that the heist occurred about 3:40 a.m. Tuesday, in the midst of the outage that prevented about 180,000 of the 600,000 Southwestern Bell custom ers in the 918 area code from being able to call 911.

After officials noticed about 3:15 a.m. that no calls were coming into the 911 dispatch center, they quickly implemented emergency plans in the Tulsa metropolitan area. Police officers, firefighters and paramedics were posted at fire stations, convenience stores and major intersections across Tulsa.

"The attendant tried, but she was not able to report the robbery to police," Lamons said.

Police first learned of the robbery from newspaper carrier Julie Welsh, Lamons said.

Welsh said she was making her morning deliveries to newspaper boxes when she went to the Git 'N' Go about 4 a.m.

"I noticed the girl coming to the door to unlock it, and I knew something had happened," Welsh said. "She said I would need to put the papers down outside because she had just been robbed. She said she had been trying to call 911 but she could not get through.

"I immediately left and went to look for a cop at this QuikTrip where I always see one. On the way, I stopped at another Git 'N' Go and told them what happened."

Welsh found an officer stationed at a QuikTrip at 517 N. Sheridan Road. She told the officer about the robbery and he left to take a report.

"I just want to watch out for my stores because I hope they would watch out for me," Welsh said.

When the officer arrived, he found the attendant alone inside the locked store, Lamons said.

"She said she was washing the glass doors inside the beverage cooler when a white male with bloodshot eyes came in," Lamons said. "The attendant said that it appeared that he was going to buy cigarettes at first."

The man waited for the attendant at the counter and then said, "I hate to tell you this, but I am going to blow you away."

His right hand was under his shirt and it appeared as if he was holding a gun. He demanded all of the cash in the register, Lamons said.

The attendant said she gave him the money and that he walked out of the store.

"We think he might live in the area because he walked away," Lamons said.

According to store video tape, the robbery lasted 59 seconds, Lamons said.

The suspect was described as a fair-skinned white male with blue eyes and brown hair and sideburns that extended to his jaw, 5 feet 8 to 5 feet 10 inches tall, 140 to 150 pounds and about 30 to 35 years old, according to the description.

Anyone with information about the robbery should call Crime Stoppers at 596-COPS. Callers can be anonymous and will receive a cash reward for information that leads to an arrest.

Nicole Marshall, World staff writer, can be reached at 581-8459 or via e-mail at nicole.marshall@tulsaworld.com.


-- (Dee360Degree@aol.com), June 23, 2000

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