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Largo woman accused of robbing gas station, attempting to rob a Subway with stun gun

LARGO — Some people celebrate their birthday with cake or perhaps a party.

Rose Tyrka of Largo did things a little differently Sunday when she turned 59.

Armed with a stun gun, police say, she robbed a gas station and then tried to rob a fast-food restaurant.

Now she finds herself in the Pinellas County Jail charged with felony counts of armed robbery and attempted armed robbery. She's being held in lieu of $200,000 bail.

It all started about 5 p.m. Sunday when Tyrka pulled the stun gun on an employee at a Shell gas station at 2400 East Bay Drive, an arrest report by the Largo Police Department said.

After taking $130 from the cash register, Tyrka used the weapon on the employee, striking him in the abdomen, the report said. An employee at the Shell station said Wednesday that the employee, who was not named in the report, quit after the incident.

The robbery was caught on video surveillance.

Four hours later, Tyrka entered a Subway sandwich shop at 11180 66th St. N and approached employee Loretta Rose, Pinellas Park police said.

First, Tyrka ordered some broccoli and cheese soup and a double chocolate chip cookie, Rose said.

"She was pretty much the nicest customer I'd had all night," said Rose, 23. "She was as sweet as can be."

Tyrka took her food and went out to her Toyota Corolla. She returned a few minutes later, wearing a baseball hat, and asked for a sandwich. Rose made Tyrka a footlong BLT and rang her up, she said. Tyrka put two $5 bills on the counter, then grabbed the stun gun from her bag.

"I went to grab (the money) and it happened so fast," Rosa said. "She grabbed my wrist and said 'I don't want to do this, but I have three starving grandchildren and I have to. It won't hurt much. It'll be over before you know it.' "

Rose pulled away from Tyrka and ran for the back door, grabbing a knife on the way out. When she couldn't get the attention of the business next door, Rose went back through the restaurant and exited the front door.

She was getting ready to confront Tyrka with the knife when a co-worker came out of the restaurant next door and called 911, Rose said.

Tyrka left her car in the parking lot, which helped Pinellas Park police identify her, said spokesman Capt. Sanfield Forseth. She fled on foot without any money and was arrested by Largo police on Tuesday.

Tyrka's stun gun packed 300,000 volts, Forseth said.

"I'm only like 120 (pounds), so I probably would have hit the floor and then, God only knows what else could have happened," said Rose, who has worked at the Subway for six years.

Police say Tyrka admitted to the crimes and said she is addicted to pain medication and that she needed the money to buy fentanyl patches.

Largo woman accused of robbing gas station, attempting to rob a Subway with stun gun 08/26/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 26, 2009 9:23pm]

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