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Robbery Thwarted By Shots

By Staff | Nov 18, 2009

An attempted robbery at Gifford’s gas station in Reader Sunday night came to a quick end when owner Tom Gifford pulled a pistol on the likewise armed robbers. (Photo by Bruce Crawford)

Two men attempted to Rob Gifford’s gas station in Reader Sunday night, but all they got away with were some ventilation holes in their getaway vehicle.

At approximately 11:20 p.m. a man went to the residence next door to the station and asked owner Tom Gifford if he could use his phone because his car had broken down. Gifford got the phone and when he turned around, the man was holding an knife and a second man wearing a ski mask was in his house holding a pistol.

The unmasked man asked for money and drugs; Gifford complied.

“They didn’t want his blood pressure medicine,” commented Sheriff James Hoskins.

The duo led Gifford back to the store where they wanted more money and items. “They wanted into the safe,” said Gifford. What the perpetrators didn’t know was that the store owner had a loaded pistol ready on top of the safe.

“When they saw the gun, I was going to shoot them, but the safety was on,” said Gifford. “When I finally got it off they had run out of the building.”

The owner then exited the building and unloaded seven shots into their vehicle as they were speeding away, headed south on state Route 20. The duo was in a white passenger van with a small blue stripe. The money that was taken from Gifford was recovered as it was dropped on the ground about 25 yards down the road

“The sheriff’s deputy asked why I shot at them seven times,” said Gifford. “I told him I ran out of ammunition. If I had a machine gun I would have emptied that too.”

Both men were Caucasian and appeared to be about five-feet 10-inches tall of medium build. While Gifford couldn’t give a description of the masked man, he said the other man had dark hair and a goatee. He was wearing dirty clothes and had dirty skin.

Sheriff’s deputies Roger Spragg, Eric Daugherty, and Randy Adams are investigating the incident. “We have some evidence that we collected that we will be evaluating,” added Hoskins.

Also, Gifford said the man in the ski mask had tried to enter the store about five minutes before coming to the house.

An employee was still inside at the time and had started to go to the door to see what he wanted, but he was gone when she reached the door.