Crime Watch: Apologetic Roxbury Shell robber caught on video

February 6, 2011 at 12:16 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 41 Comments

Thanks to Kim for pointing out this KING 5 story. The robbery at the Shell station at 2805 SW Roxbury happened Saturday morning in King County Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction, not Seattle Police, so it wasn’t on our radar till now. The robber looked to be 60ish and apologized profusely to the storekeeper, as you’ll see in the video; if you recognize him, call 911.

SUNDAY EVENING NOTE: We checked this afternoon with KCSO; no word of an arrest so far.

41 Comments

  1. this video is so striking… and sad. Why can’t he find some way to get money besides robbing from someone else? He seems polite and smart…he says he has kids but he’s risking their future over stealing from another man?

    Comment by Rhonda Porter — 12:24 pm February 6, 2011 #

  2. well rhonda, i dont know the specifics. but to me he could be somebody who is about to loose everything and is trying to do something to keep it. again i could be wrong. and not trying to make excuses for the man. and this isnt what i would call the smartest way not to loose everything. cuz when he’s caught he will anyway.

    Comment by jeff — 12:49 pm February 6, 2011 #

  3. I don’t know why, but this video made me cry. You must be really hard up to rob a store that has so many video camera’s. I can’t believe the store owner offered to give him $40. So sad.

    Comment by Amanda — 12:53 pm February 6, 2011 #

  4. He seems apologetic and sincere but he brought a gun,which had it gone off ,he’d be doing time in the slammer.Not sure if Im convinced he’s that hard up or just making an excuse so he doesn’t get charges brought against him.He never should’ve done this, but bringing a gun?There could’ve been another way guy.

    Comment by Alki Resident — 12:56 pm February 6, 2011 #

  5. We must help our neighbors. If you know of a family that suffered a lay-off or job loss consider giving them a grocery card stuffed under their door or in the mail box. The disparity between the have and have nots in this country is worse than in Egypt, they are having a revolution as a result of this.

    Cheers to the store owner for being human.

    Comment by Neighbor — 1:01 pm February 6, 2011 #

  6. While I appreciate your core message Neighbor, the poor in Egypt are infinitely worse off than poor in America. There are not many here living off $2 a day.

    Comment by bridge to somewhere — 1:46 pm February 6, 2011 #

  7. Could have sold the gun to a pawn shop for quadruple what he got from the cash register.

    Comment by kg — 2:17 pm February 6, 2011 #

  8. Someone will know who he is, Sad
    times are hard , but no reason to do what he is doing.

    Comment by LR — 2:34 pm February 6, 2011 #

  9. I’m surprised by the tone of the comments here. Under NO circumstances is it OK to pull a firearm on a hard-working gas station owner and rob him. I don’t care how polite and reticent a thief is. Someone who takes something that doesn’t belong to them, by force, from someone else who earns their living is beyond despicable to me. I hope this man is apprehended quickly and is punished for his crime. My empathy is 100% with the person who, in the course of his day’s work, had to look down the barrel of a gun.

    Comment by cjboffoli — 2:54 pm February 6, 2011 #

  10. Sad is so many ways! I’ve never had a lot of riches or been so poor I’ve wondered where the next meal was coming … but we have eaten cereal for dinner with very little milk added. And I truly agree with “Neighbor”!!!

    Comment by CitizenR — 3:03 pm February 6, 2011 #

  11. It’s very sad, but there’s something odd about “having kids and paying the rent.” He’s quite old to have “children” and you can’t pay the rent with $300. Certainly there’s a desperation that drove him to this, but it’s something else.

    And, I agree with Neighbor too. The disparity between the haves and the have-nots is obscene, and it’s getting worse.

    Comment by visitor — 3:15 pm February 6, 2011 #

  12. What a shame. As a customer, I know the gas station owner by first name only. He’s a very nice guy. Soft spoken, multilingual and has lived in several countries including Egypt and Italy I believe. Hard enough for a business owner to make money in a slim profit margin business without getting robbed.

    Comment by JumboJim — 3:38 pm February 6, 2011 #

  13. visitor- My uncle is somewhere near the age of this man and has a teenager. There are a lot of older parents nowdays.
    $300 does not pay the rent, but robbing multiple places will (except, he will get caught).
    This is a depressing story.

    Comment by ad — 3:52 pm February 6, 2011 #

  14. you’re not desperate if you haven’t sold your gun.
    Polite amounts to absolutely nothing in this case.

    Comment by thistle stair — 3:58 pm February 6, 2011 #

  15. i wonder if he did it so that he could go to prison. 3 square meals a day, health care, exercise equipment, cable. doenst sound so bad compared with living on the street.

    Comment by kate — 5:04 pm February 6, 2011 #

  16. If he can’t feed his kids or pay his rent, it’s because he’s an idiot. He’d have to be to expect to get away with a robbery done like that. Or maybe he just wants to get caught. His sob story has a false ring to it.

    Comment by rockyracoon — 5:53 pm February 6, 2011 #

  17. We are in desperate times, I’m glad nobody was injured…

    Comment by CountingCoup — 6:20 pm February 6, 2011 #

  18. This is america people. When did we start feeling sorry for those that are willing to take from others?! If every person who stuck up a convienience store got a .45 in the chest, we would have a few less robberies. I have NO pity for a man who robs from his fellow American!

    Comment by Jeff — 7:00 pm February 6, 2011 #

  19. There were a few people who felt sorry for the robber Jeff and I agree people that take from others are just out right wrong! I feel pain for his family if indeed he has one. Maybe he is so desperate he’s out of his mind. Maybe he decided this was an easy way out. Maybe he’s just mean! Don’t know. But I feel terrible for the clerk, it must be horrible to have a gun in your face! I’d probably have a heart attack, and nightmares the rest of my life! God Bless the guy!

    Comment by CitizenR — 7:32 pm February 6, 2011 #

  20. scum bag conman thugs come in many disguises when a gun comes out game over period. The only sad part to this story is this thug is still on the streets to terrorize some other honest hard working sole.

    Comment by ws guy — 7:58 pm February 6, 2011 #

  21. Yeah, I was really amazed how cool John was under the gun. He may have been through it before, but I don’t think I would ever get used to that! I’m just really glad he wasn’t hurt.

    Comment by JumboJim — 8:11 pm February 6, 2011 #

  22. Doesn’t matter how polite the robber was, or how sorry he says he was… it is WRONG to put a gun on someone and take things that aren’t yours! Just because you are having problems, doesn’t give you the right to steal from someone else that has. I have been in tight places before but was able to find my way out of them, whether it be doing some extra work for someone, selling some belongings, Short on rent.. I asked my land lord if I could do some cleaning work for them to make up for what I was short.. Food, there are food banks to help.. THere are ways around things.. a gun and a robbery are NEVER a solution and his sympathy falls on deaf ears here.

    Comment by S — 9:07 pm February 6, 2011 #

  23. guy pulls a gun he’s open to all possibilities, including having his brains splattered against the wall. he may have been “nice”, but that does not preclude the fact that he would have murdered someone in cold blood. he was lucky someone else was not behind that register.

    yr notion of “nice” means nothing in this context.

    Comment by smash the state — 9:56 pm February 6, 2011 #

  24. btw, let’s see the legs on this reporter (owen lei). he has a great story dropped into his lap. is he gonna let it slide or actually attempt to craft a compelling piece of journalism here….

    bets, anyone?

    Comment by smash the state — 10:11 pm February 6, 2011 #

  25. Who cares if he was desperate? He’s a thief, and I have no sympathy for anyone who steals from anyone else. This is not about “tough times” or the haves vs. have nots, this is about some guy being an a** and robbing people. This isn’t sad, it’s infuriating that there are people like this in our society who are feel the are entitled to steal from others. He deserves to be in jail.

    Comment by no sympathy — 10:57 pm February 6, 2011 #

  26. I don’t think the majority commenting here are saying that what he did is ok/acceptable. What he did is wrong, desperation does not justify it. What I think I hear people saying is..it’s not that surprising in the economic state we are in.
    I do think he will be caught and in a much bigger pickle.

    Comment by ad — 10:58 pm February 6, 2011 #

  27. This video is so revealing; someone HAS to recognize him. Let’s just hope when they do that they call 911 right away to prevent anymore of these “polite” robberies because next time it might not be as cordial.

    Comment by sun*e — 8:36 am February 7, 2011 #

  28. Looks like he has his hand down on the counter. Hopefully the police lifted his prints.

    Comment by brian — 10:28 am February 7, 2011 #

  29. I’ve never had a nice person threaten to kill me unless I gave them my money. For me, the threat to kill me puts them into a special category of not-very-nice, no matter what their circumstances are. Not all criminals are sociopaths with no empathy or feelings of remorse, so they feel sorry about the people they kill, and the lives they affect by their crimes. The folks they kill are still dead, and the lives they affect are not made better by their tears.

    Comment by MAS — 10:37 am February 7, 2011 #

  30. something smells funny. I dont like it. THe owner of that Shell station is one of the nicest people around. He is so nice to me and my daughter when we go in to buy gas or even just a pack of gum, its sad that he has been taken from so many times.
    I have to say he is very patient too. Teaching my daughter about money, I let her buy gum with her own money, and she will sit there and count it out on the counter, and you can tell, he is not annoyed or rushes us. Super nice guy. I hope they catch that turd of a robber. Sympathy is the game he’s playing.

    Comment by toddinwestwood — 11:59 am February 7, 2011 #

  31. OH MY GOODNESS…!!!
    THIS GUY USED TO BE MY CLASSMATE IN COLLEGE, SSCC, I dont think I should disclose his name or anything like that, he was a nice guy, kinda snotty… wow, just wow…
    *** Oh and I said I didnt wanna say his name in here because a ton of my peeps from college were the ones that told me about this so Im sure they’ve called.

    Comment by Josh Germanotta — 1:00 pm February 7, 2011 #

  32. Thanks, Josh, we wouldn’t publish a name anyway here but if you do know who he is PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE call 911 and get the information to authorities – don’t assume your “peeps” have already identified him … TR

    Comment by WSB — 1:09 pm February 7, 2011 #

  33. This guy needs to be caught NOW. Pulling a gun to rob means you are NOT thinking rationally. As others have said, why not sell the gun first? Why not stand out on the corner with a sign? Why is it ok to threaten another just to “feed” your own? This guy deserves NO sympathy! C’mon WSea’rs are you REALLY this gullible? Really?

    Comment by Dean — 1:50 pm February 7, 2011 #

  34. Let’s see here…I was stopped for speeding around 25 years ago and received a ticket…I was sorry that I got caught…25 years have gone by…I still speed and I’m sure I’ll be sorry next time I get caught…This guy is SORRY for committing ARMED ROBBERY and he’ll continue to be SORRY…everytime he robs someone at gun point and puts them through the mental hell they will surly re-live every time they think about it…Will the ARMED ROBBER continue to be SORRY…YouBetCha…he’ll be even more SORRY when a store owner or police officer puts some high velocity lead into him. If you know him…Turn him in…The only thing worse than this RAT is someone who won’t turn him in…because the next time he does this someone may be injured or killed!!

    Comment by Bob — 2:13 pm February 7, 2011 #

  35. Interesting…I was just reading through the comments on King 5′s report on this incident (I know, dont know why I waste any time even peeking at those comment boards), and there was a comment from someone claiming to know more about this story. Who knows if the comment was anywhere near legit, but it claims this man was previously in prison for bank robbery and went to college for culinary arts after his release (which seems supported by Josh’s comment above). It also claims the politeness is just his MO and that he doesn’t have kids. Interesting if that is true…would definitely change my view on the incident! I will be interesdted to see how this plays out…

    Comment by MB — 3:04 pm February 7, 2011 #

  36. I hope for his sake he doesn’t make an attempt on the West Seattle gas station my husband manages before police catch up with him (which they will)…the story won’t end so politely. Although, if there is a brain in his head, he would take one look at my hubby and turn around and head the opposite direction :)

    Comment by MB — 3:12 pm February 7, 2011 #

  37. Suspect just arrested – see story atop site

    Comment by WSB — 4:00 pm February 7, 2011 #

  38. There’s always the possibility that he’s lying about all of this sad story!People will do and say anything!

    Comment by Marcia — 4:29 pm February 7, 2011 #

  39. Kids to feed? I don’t think so buddy.. he looks like he could be collecting Social Security. Too many bleeding hearts in this city. I wonder how many other “desperate” people will be lined up to rob that gas station now that they know the owner will offer $40 and not press charges.

    Comment by Rachel — 5:21 pm February 7, 2011 #

  40. We all know now that his story was bogus, but I do think it’s interesting how many people are so stuck on the fact that he mentioned kids at his age…men of that age do still procreate sometimes and not everyone that says they have kids to feed actually created those kids. There are many reasons a sixty something year old man could have children to provide for. Obviously, that was not the case here…but it’s really not that crazy of an idea.

    Comment by MB — 5:38 pm February 7, 2011 #

  41. He doesn’t have children!

    Comment by Frank — 6:55 pm February 7, 2011 #

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