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Video may solve $4,000 robbery

Police try to salvage what Ampride robber tried to destroy

Staff writer

Police are piecing together smashed surveillance equipment in hope of identifying one or more robbers who overpowered a clerk and got away with more than $4,000 at Ampride in Marion.

The clerk thought she had locked the convenience store’s door and was heading into an office to tally the day’s receipts when someone burst in and attacked her from behind at 12:40 a.m. June 27, police chief Tyler Mermis said Monday.

“They grabbed her by the back of her shirt, ripping her shirt and bra and pushing her to the ground,” Mermis said.

The clerk, shaken but not injured, was uncertain whether her assailant was male or female or whether one or two people were involved.

“She was afraid to look up because she didn’t want them to hurt her,” Mermis said, adding that the clerk tried to take shelter beneath items she could pull down around her.

The robber grabbed the cash and tried to destroy video surveillance equipment in the office.

“They made a mess of the place,” Mermis said. “They broke the recording system that was in the office — tried to smash it.”

An estimated $700 damage was done to the surveillance equipment and other items in the office.

Police recovered the damaged video equipment and sent it to the Sedgwick County sheriff’s office, which has equipment that might be able to extract images from the remains of the system.

“The case is still being investigated,” Mermis said. “We just have to wait.”

He said it was the only robbery he could recall in Marion during his 10 years here.

Officers gave the clerk a few days to get past the trauma in hope of getting more information about the robber or robbers, but Mermis said she still was uncertain whether a weapon was used or even how many robbers there were.

“It was one for sure, possibly two,” Mermis said. “If we get that video, we’ve got him.”

Police from Marion and Peabody and sheriff’s deputies combed the area for possible suspects after the robbery.

Surveillance video from Country Inn motel across Thorp St. from the convenience store was inspected, and clerks at Casey’s General Store a little more than two blocks away were interviewed.

The clerk was so shaken that her initial call for help was unintelligible.

“We had a call at the Ampride here in Marion,” a dispatcher told a Marion officer by radio. “She’s crying. We can’t understand her.”

At the officer’s request, an ambulance was summoned to check the clerk, whom the officer described as hysterical.

According to monitored radio transmissions, the clerk was identified as Jena Terrell of Lehigh, who last year was manager of the Marion County Fair.

Last modified July 11, 2018

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