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30-minute robbery spree: Gas station clerk puts suspect in chokehold, drags him out of store

PASCO COUNTY, Fla -- A Florida man wanted in connection with a 30-minute robbery spree got a big surprise when a gas station clerk he tried to rob ended up putting him in a chokehold -- dragging him out of the store.

At all three stops, sheriff's officials said the older man threatened a gun, but he was only able to pull off a successful robbery once.

His first attempt was at the drive-thru window at Regions Bank. After driving away empty-handed, his next stop was Sunoco Food Mart.

"Fella walked up to me, walked straight up to the counter, looked me straight in the face and said 'I've got a gun. Give me your money.' At first, I was kinda taken aback, and I asked, 'What did you just say to me?' And he said, 'I got a gun. Give me your money,'" said Rob Ray, Sunoco employee.

Customers were in the store, and surveillance cameras were rolling. Ray said he wanted the would-be robber out.

"I came around here. He had his hand in his pocket. I came around behind him, put him in a chokehold, drug him out basically. Somebody comes in, wants to rob a store, they're not thinking straight in the first place, so you would of thought after he got dumped on his head in my parking lot that he would have given up on robbing other people, but clearly he didn't," said Ray.

Officials said the suspect drove straight to Hudson Alterations and Dry Cleaning, again demanding money from the owner. She ran to the barbershop next door for help.

"I went out to the car and I confronted him and I said, 'Did you take money from this lady?' And he says, 'Yes, I'm broke and I told her I want $100,'" said Russ Disi, barbershop owner.

Disi said he grabbed the man, but when the robber said he was armed, he backed away.

"I didn't know how much money he took from her, but I'm thinking whatever it was, it's not worth getting shot over," said Disi.

The crime spree lasted only about 30 minutes. The suspect got away in a black Volkswagen Jetta -- but was later arrested.

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