A gas station clerk’s poor eyesight foiled an armed robbery Monday and helped authorities capture two teenagers suspected of holding up convenience stores in Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene.
Lesley E. Ove, 18, and a 17-year-old boy, both of Sandpoint, were arrested at City Beach about 1:15 a.m.
A loaded .380-caliber handgun, ski mask and gloves were found in their car, and the two confessed to trying to rob the PNF gas station in Sagle, authorities said.
Bonner County Detective Howard Burke said the teens also confessed to robbing the Post Falls Chevron last month, where they threatened to blow a female clerk’s head off if she didn’t give them money.
The teens also admitted to robbing the Qwik-Stop on Northwest Boulevard in Coeur d’Alene and taking $600 from Bob’s Save-Sum in Sandpoint after holding the clerk at gunpoint last week, authorities said.
The teens now face three counts of armed robbery and one count of attempted robbery.
Burke said the attempted robbery in Sagle turned into a comedy of errors that led to the arrests.
One teen went into the store, about nine miles south of Sandpoint, at 12:30 a.m. He was wearing a ski mask over his face and pointed a gun at the cashier, who was alone in the store.
“The guy (clerk) has bad eyes and had his glasses off. He was trying to find them to put them on and make sure he was being robbed,” Burke said. “He was moving so slow and took so long the kid turned into a nervous wreck and figured the clerk wasn’t responding to him. He panicked and ran out of the store.”
By that time, Burke said the clerk had his glasses on, got a description of the teen’s clothing and the getaway car.
The clerk locked the store and called 911. Minutes later, city officers spotted the car headed toward Sandpoint’s City Beach. The teens parked the car, jumped out and started to run when they saw police. A second officer stopped the teens on the road and arrested them.
A search of the car turned up the loaded gun and ski mask, which authorities said matched the description given by victims of the other robberies.
Ove is being held in the Bonner County Jail, while the 17-year-old is at the juvenile detention center.
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