Armed with a ratchet wrench under his sweatshirt, deputies say, a Hudson man went on an early-morning tear Thursday, robbing three convenience stores, trying to rob a fourth and later fleeing authorities.
Pages of Pasco County Sheriff's Office reports detail Joseph Albert Clary's alleged stops:
3:39 a.m.: Clary, 50, drives a white pickup to the 7-Eleven at 10017 State Road 52 in Hudson. Wearing a hoodie, he approaches the store's counter and tells the clerk, "This is a robbery" and to open the register. He puts the ratchet wrench under his jacket and tells her he has a gun and will shoot if she doesn't comply. He snatches $25 from her hands and leaves in the truck.
4:08 a.m.: Clary arrives at the Sunoco at 7636 SR 52 in Port Richey, rounds the counter, pushes "something hard" against the clerk's side and tells him to open the register. Thinking it's a gun, the clerk hands Clary $100 in cash before he flees.
5:55 a.m.: Clary goes to the Circle K at 10011 Hudson Ave. in Hudson and is thwarted by a clerk who, before he can make a move, tells him to get out. Sheriff's spokesman Doug Tobin would later say, "she was quite forceful I understand."
6:17 a.m.: Clary comes to the Kangaroo Express at 13703 U.S. 19 in Hudson and tells a clerk to open the register while pointing "what she thought was a firearm" at her from beneath his hoodie. She gives him $36. He leaves.
6:20 a.m.: A deputy spots Clary's white pickup headed east on SR 52 near La Madera Boulevard in Port Richey. The deputy turns on his cruiser's sirens, but Clary's truck accelerates, swings a U-turn and takes off down a side street, then slams into a tree. Clary tries to run, but deputies catch him.
Clary was taken to Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point for medical clearance before deputies took him to jail.
At some point, he explained that he used the ratchet wrench to scare clerks and needed the money for pills, reports say.
He netted $161.
Clary, of 15607 Hicks Road in Hudson, was arrested on three charges of armed robbery, fleeing to elude, resisting arrest without violence and violating probation for fraud.
He remained in the Land O'Lakes jail Friday.
Alex Orlando can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 869-6247.