HOUSTON—Nobody seemed to pay much attention when the guy walked into the store carrying a gasoline can.
Customers routinely pull into the Big C convenience store in Pasadena for gas and beer. And the guy looked like any other customer as he walked back to a cooler and grabbed a six-pack.
Odd thing, though: After he picked up his beer and walked up to the counter, he started pouring gasoline on the floor.
That’s when he threatened to set the store on fire unless the clerk gave him the money in the register.
“He threatened to light that gasoline,” said Ryan Sullivan, a spokesman for Crime Stoppers of Houston. “This is a depraved act, and obviously a severe threat. Fire crimes are a severe threat to the community. Anybody that would use gasoline and fire as a threat in a robbery poses a serious risk to society.”
That’s why Pasadena arson investigators decided to release all of their surveillance video from a crime that happened more than a year ago. The robbery at the store located at 2501 Preston occurred on January 12, 2013. Authorities released a brief clip that clearly showed the robber’s face, but they were surprised that no one called to identify him.
So the fire marshal’s office released video from various angles that captured the crime from start to finish. It shows the suspect setting his gasoline can down in front of a rack of snacks, then strolling to the back of the store. After he walks back into camera range carrying a six-pack of beer, he picks up his gasoline can and approaches the counter.
A camera mounted behind the cashier shows the man pouring the gasoline onto the floor. The cashier briefly reacts, pointing toward the suspect, as the robber apparently orders him to hand over the money.
After he gets the cash, the robber calmly strolls out of the door and walks away with a six-pack in one hand and a gasoline can in the other.
“What we’re asking people to do is take a look at this video,” Sullivan said. “We’ve got extended footage now of the suspect in the store. We need anybody that knows the identity of the suspect to call Crime Stoppers at (713) 222-TIPS.
A cash reward of up to $5,000 is offered to anyone who helps police capture the robber who threatened to burn down that convenience store.