Robber of Valley gas station remains at large

Man robbed cash register after threatening Tesoro clerk with a gun; suspect a tall Caucasian in his 30s

Posted: Thursday, May 22, 2003

Police have no suspects in an armed robbery early Wednesday at a Mendenhall Valley gas station.

Around 1:45 a.m. a man brandishing a gun told the clerk of the Valley Tesoro, a woman, 47, to open the cash register, police said. The man grabbed an undisclosed amount of money and ran from the store.

"The whole thing took less than a few minutes and there was very little conversation," said Sgt. John Boltjes, head of police investigations. "We don't know how much he took - we couldn't release that anyway - but, he actually left about $15 and the change in the drawer.

The clerk described the robber as a Caucasian man in his early 30s, about 6 feet 1 inch tall, thin, wearing a dark-colored, hooded sweatshirt, camouflaged pants and a mask.

Police said the man didn't appear to have an accomplice and no one else was in the store at the time of the robbery.

Richard Godfrey, Tesoro owner, said the incident will not prompt any immediate or significant security changes.

"We do have video cameras in our store and we will just make sure they are up and running at all times," Godfrey said. "We always tell our cashiers to be cautious. ... Our philosophy is to tell cashiers to cooperate at all times, give them what they want, and we'll catch them later."

He declined comment on the amount of money stolen, but said "it's an awful lot of jail time for very little cash."

Tesoro assistant manager Jason Shima, who occasionally fills in for other employees on the late-night shift, said the incident doesn't make him nervous to work late hours at the station.

"It seems kind of like an isolated incident of some young punk wanting cash," he said. "You're always a little nervous on that shift, but we have a pretty normal regular crowd at that hour. I don't think it will affect me too much. Of course, I've never been staring down the barrel of a gun."

Police are asking anyone with information about the robbery to call the police station at 586-0600.

"I don't think we've had one of these in awhile," Boltjes said. "We usually don't get armed robberies in Juneau."

Melanie Plenda can be reached

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