2 robbery attempts thwarted Store employees capture suspect on his 2nd try

May 27, 1993|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer

A man attempting to pull off a robbery in Ellicott City yesterday failed not once, but twice. During the second attempt, his possible victims not only foiled the robbery attempt, but caught the robber, according to Howard County police.

Workers at the Giant Food store at the Chatham Mall snared the man early yesterday morning after he robbed a cashier and prevented him from leaving the supermarket until police arrived, police said.

The man had earlier attempted to rob a nearby Crown gas station, but fled after an attendant pulled out a gun to protect himself, county police said.

No one was seriously injured in either incident.

"They're just lucky it turned out that way," said Sgt. Gary Gardner, police spokesman.

Police charged Lyne Mcoy Webster, 35, no fixed addressed, with robbery, attempted robbery and three counts of assault and battery for the two incidents.

Mr. Webster is a suspect in a series of robberies at gas stations, including one at the same Crown station early Saturday morning, police said.

Police gave the following report on yesterday's incidents:

Officers responded to the Chatham Crown Station in the 9300 block of Baltimore National Pike for a robbery in progress at 12:30 a.m.

The clerk said the suspect announced the robbery and had his right hand in his pants pocket, as if he had a gun.

The station attendant told the officers that he thwarted the robbery by pulling out a gun, at which point the suspect fled on foot.

About a half-hour later, at 1 a.m., officers were called to the Giant supermarket in the 9200 block of Baltimore National Pike for another robbery report.

Store employees told police that a man approached a cashier, held his right hand in his pants pocket and announced a robbery.

The cashier turned over several hundred dollars.

As the man was fleeing the store, several employees -- including the cashier -- grabbed him and held him until the officers arrived.

The man kicked three employees during the struggle, but none was seriously injured, police said.

Mr. Webster admitted to the attempted robbery at the Crown station once in police custody, officers said. Police did not find a weapon on the suspect.

Mr. Webster is jailed at the county Detention Center on $50,000 bond.

Mark Roeder, a spokesman for Giant, said the company discourages employees, for their safety's sake, from taking steps to stop shoplifters or robbers.

"We tell our staffers they're more important than any money or merchandise," Mr. Roeder said. "The staffers' safety is the first priority."

Employees at the gas station and the store could not be reached for comment.

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