Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Public safety

Hernando authorities arrest suspect in two robbery attempts

BROOKSVILLE — Steven Ray Willis didn't have much luck one day last November when, authorities say, he tried to rob two Hess service stations.

At the first store, at Cortez Boulevard and Cobb Road, Willis, 49, asked for a pack of cigarettes and then told the clerk, "This is a stickup," the Hernando County Sheriff's Office said. The clerk suffered a medical episode and became short of breath, prompting Willis to threaten to harm her if she didn't cooperate, deputies said. The clerk yelled that she was being robbed, and Willis fled.

A short time later, investigators say, Willis demanded money from a clerk at the Hess station at 1950 E Jefferson St. When the clerk refused to hand over money, Willis tried to get a pack of Marlboro cigarettes the traditional way — by paying for it — but the debit card he gave the clerk was declined. Willis fled.

Detectives tracked down Willis, interviewed him Wednesday and then arrested him. Investigators say he admitted to being the man on surveillance video from both stations.

Already on probation for driving with a revoked or suspended license, he was being held without bail Thursday in the Hernando County Detention Center. Jail records list an address for Willis on Wildwood Drive in Brooksville.

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