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Surveillance system didn't record robbery at St. Petersburg convenience store

ST. PETERSBURG — The convenience store robbery that ended in gunfire Sunday night was not captured on video because of a malfunctioning VHS recording system, police said.

The incident is prompting police to remind store owners to check their surveillance video systems. They also released more information about the Sunday robbery at Watson's, 3311 Fifth Ave. N.

According to police, two men with hoods pulled over their faces entered the store at 8:12 p.m. armed with a gun and a knife. Both were described as black men in their late teens or early 20s. The gunman was described as 6 feet 1, slender, wearing a red shirt. The only description of the knife-wielding robber is he was about 5-11. He walked behind the counter as the other man ordered the clerk to open the register.

The clerk fumbled with the cash drawer when a customer walked in and distracted the robbers. The clerk tried to take the knife away from the robber. The two struggled. At one point, the clerk tried to use a chair to protect himself. That's when the other robber shot him in the left foot. The robbers ran away with an undisclosed amount of cash.

The clerk, whom police identified as Anton Goubrial, 47, was taken to Bayfront Medical Center with an injury that wasn't life-threatening.

The robbery is similar to store shootings last month that left four clerks hospitalized with gunshot wounds, St. Petersburg police Maj. Mike Puetz said.

However, he said, all armed robberies have similarities.

In last month's shootings, the robbers appeared to use a lookout. That didn't appear to be the case this time, police said. Also, the clerks in those robberies were shot without warning and didn't resist. In this case, the clerk put up a fight. Also, a knife wasn't used in last month's robberies.

Anyone with information about this or any other armed robbery is asked to call St. Petersburg police at (727) 893-7780.

Surveillance system didn't record robbery at St. Petersburg convenience store 01/20/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 20, 2009 10:25pm]
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