Robbery attempt reported at gas station

The armed suspect in Sunday's incident matches the description of a suspect in two other recent robberies.

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WALLA WALLA -- A gun-wielding man who attempted to rob a gas station Sunday evening fits the description of a suspect in two other recent robberies in Walla Walla.

The masked man, described as tall and white, entered Tom's Southgate Chevron, 857 S. Second Ave., at roughly 5:15 p.m. on Sunday and demanded the clerk open the cash register. The convenience store clerk told police the man brandished a gun.

According to police, before the clerk could open the till, a customer entered the store and the clerk yelled to call police. Both the clerk and customer then fled. The would-be robber attempted to open the till on his own before fleeing the scene on foot, according to Officer Tim Bennett, spokesman for the Walla Walla Police Department.

"This is definitely a lot of robberies for a three-week period," Bennett said. "We are working through some leads. We're still working on it."

Bennett added police are looking at surveillance videos of the attempted robbery.

The Taj Food Mart on West Morton Street and Los Tapatios on Ninth Avenue were robbed by a lone gunman matching the description of the suspect in Sunday's attempted robbery. All three crimes took place within a mile of each other.

"There's that possibility," Bennett said of speculation that the same man has hit all three places. "He kind of fits the description."

Bennett said that staying alert and avoiding confrontation are keys to dealing with potential robbers.

"If a clerk is suspicious, there's nothing wrong with just walking away before they have a chance to be a victim," Bennett said.

Bennett also said noticing every customer who enters a store can be crucial. Sunday's would-be robber entered the convenience store wearing a mask, Bennett pointed out.

Luke Hegdal can be reached at lukehegdal@wwub.com or 526-8326.

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