110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
posted Oct 25, 2010 - 3:00:55pm
A 16-year-old DeLand High School student was arrested Oct. 22 after he robbed one DeLand convenience store and tried to rob another, within less than three hours, police said.
At the second store, the would-be robber used a bottle of salad dressing as a weapon. The store owner countered with a handgun, thwarting the theft.
Ashok and Ramilaben Patel own the DeLand Citro Gas Station at 301 S. Woodland Blvd., which was struck first Friday.
Ashok Patel had gone out to get sandwiches, leaving his wife alone in the store.
Ramilaben Patel said she feared for her life when a young man, bigger than her, came into the store and demanded money.
When Ramilaben Patel refused to turn over the cash, the robber came around the counter and took it.
"It was $468; it could be a little more," Ashok Patel said.
Ramilaben Patel said the robber indicated he had a gun.
"He said if I don't give him the money, he will shoot," she said.
She did not see a gun. She said the young man was wearing a large sweatshirt-type jacket, and his hand was on his hip.
"I was scared," she said.
Her husband also was scared when he returned and saw his gas station surrounded by police cars.
"I came back and I see a lot of cops," he said. "I was afraid something had happened to her."
Ramilaben Patel was shaken up, but not harmed.
Ashok Patel said this was the first such incident since he and his wife opened the store in February.
Two-and-a-half hours later, DeLand Police responded to a robbery-in-progress call at the Friendly Way, 901 S. Florida Ave. in DeLand.
At that store, a young man entered, plucked a bottle of salad dressing off a store shelf, and approached the owner, Thameen Baker, with the dressing bottle raised as if it were a weapon.
The thief told Baker to give him money.
Baker grabbed his personal firearm and pointed it at the boy.
According to police, the boy said, "OK, I'll get out," while facing down the barrel of Baker's gun.
Officers arrived as the teen was exiting the store.
Baker was not available for comment.
Police reported that after the suspect was read the Miranda warning, he told officers he had wanted to rob the store to get money for jewelry and drugs.
"He wanted to buy some 'weed' so he could sell it," according to the report. "When asked why he wanted to sell drugs, he advised he wanted to 'come up.'"
The boy, 6-foot-1 and 250 pounds, also confessed to the DeLand Citro robbery, police said. He told police he had used some of the money from the first robbery, and had given some of it away.
Police arrested the teen on two charges of felony robbery, and took him to the Division of Youth Services. The agency cannot confirm whether the youth is still in custody, because he is a juvenile.
Video-surveillance tapes from both stores were placed into police evidence.
Police could not confirm what type of salad dressing the young man used.
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