After getting small haul, robbers take over gas station for hours

Posted: May 08, 2014

SOUTHWEST PHILA. Three men robbed a Southwest Philadelphia gas station early Monday and then spent more than three hours smoking cigarettes, scratching lottery tickets, and eating snacks while selling discount gas to unwitting customers.

The same men robbed another station last week, but didn't stick around pretending to work there, said Lt. John Walker of Southwest Detectives. He called the takeover "bizarre."

One of the men wore a Hess uniform shirt and posed as a deliveryman to gain entry in both robberies. In the Monday robbery, the man knew how to operate the cashier's gas terminal, which indicated he may be a former Hess employee, Walker said.

Around 1 a.m. Monday, an 18-year-old employee was locked inside the cashier's booth at the Hess station at Island and Elmwood Avenues when a man wearing a Hess shirt knocked on his door claiming to be making a delivery, Walker said.

The employee opened the door and two other men, including one with a gun, forced their way into the booth. The employee and the gunman got into a struggle and the gun discharged, grazing the employee in the head.

The employee was ordered into the bathroom while the men took over the gas station until about 4:30 a.m. The employee ran home and then was treated at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Walker said it appeared the assailants decided the proceeds of the robbery were not enough and stuck around to collect cash from about five or six customers during the takeover.

Investigators are hoping some of those customers will call police at 215-686-TIPS to help with identifying the suspects. Neither Hess station has a video surveillance system, Walker said.

The first robbery occurred April 30 at the Hess station at 61st Street and Passyunk Avenue. The employee, a 32-year-old man, was roughed up, but did not require medical attention. The robbers got away with cash and lottery tickets.


bmoran@phillynews.com215-854-5983 @RobertMoran215

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