A man wearing a Halloween skull mask tried to play off a robbery attempt as a joke after convenience store employees reacted indifferently to him brandishing a BB pistol and demanding money, Decatur police said.
The attempted robbery at Payless Gas & Food station on Spring Avenue Southwest and another unsuccessful robbery early Friday outside Wal-Mart, in which an employee escaped from Jon Matthew King after he demanded her purse at knifepoint, led to the arrests of King and two other men, police said.
King, 22, of 1719 Summerlane Drive S.E. and Cameron Nicholas Emens, 19, 1605 Cagle Ave. S.W., the alleged driver of a black Ford Ranger pickup used in the robberies, each face two charges of first-degree robbery.
A third man, Cameron James Wilson, 19, of 1705 Rice Road, Hartselle, was in the cab of the pickup but did not participate, police said. However, Wilson was charged with making a false report to police, a misdemeanor, because he initially lied about being there in a sworn statement, Violent Crimes Investigator Lt. Rick Archer said in a news release.
Two other men who were found lying down in the bed of the pickup when officer Timothy Jackson pulled it over near Home Depot on Wimberly Drive shortly after the attempted gas station robbery also were not involved and were not charged, Archer said.
Police said King jumped out of the truck and accosted a Wal-Mart employee as she walked from her car in the parking lot to work at the 2800 Spring Ave. S.W. retailer about 4:43 a.m. Friday.
According to a police report, the suspect "demanded money and threatened to kill her," said Lt. John Crouch, a police spokesman.
"She ran toward the entrance to the store. He followed her for a short distance yelling, ‘You better run or I'll kill you,' before running back to the truck and getting in," Crouch said.
The group drove to a nearby friend's residence, where they retrieved a Halloween mask and a black BB gun that looked like a semi-automatic handgun, Archer said.
"Now better equipped to commit a robbery, the men returned to Wal-Mart only to find that Decatur police had arrived to take a report from the first victim," Archer said.
Emens drove across the street to the gas station, where King got out and donned the mask, Archer said.
Two men were working inside the convenience store at about 5:33 a.m., and a woman was in the store talking with the employees. One of the employees was in the cooler in the back of the store.
King went into the store, approached the employee and the woman, brandished the BB gun and demanded money, Archer said.
"The two would-be victims were unimpressed by the robber's demands and refused to comply," Archer said. "King observed the second employee as he emerged from the back cooler. Unsuccessful and now outnumbered, King abandoned his second robbery attempt and raised his mask and pretended to know one of the employees and claimed he was only joking."
The employees went outside to flag down police as King left the store.
Officers were in the area searching for the suspects in the earlier robbery. Jackson saw the pickup leaving the store, followed it and stopped it, police said.
Jackson found the mask, described as a skull face mask, and BB gun in the truck, Crouch said.
All five occupants of the vehicle were taken to the police department and questioned.
At the time of the offense, Emens was out of jail in Decatur on bail on an earlier charge of attempted second-degree burglary. Police intend to seek revocation of his bail, Archer said.
Emens and King were to be taken to the Morgan County Jail and held in lieu of $20,000 bail each. Wilson was being held in Decatur City Jail in lieu of $500 bail.
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