Armed Party Store Crasher Steals Cash

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A young man walked into Payson Party Plus Thursday morning, bought two candles and walked out of the store with his purchase and the contents of the cash register.

The armed robber fled on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash.

"It's crazy," said business owner Barbara Ashbrenner. "He couldn't have gotten all that much. Most of our business is in checks and charges."

The clerk gave Ashbrenner the following account of the robbery.

"The man walked into the shop and asked our clerk if we had any candles," Ashbrenner said. "She asked what color he wanted, and he said he didn't care. That's kind of weird right there. Usually, you know what color you want."

The man walked up to the counter, paid for his two candles and as the clerk handed him his change, Ashbrenner said he pointed a gun in the clerk's face and demanded the rest of the money.

Ashbrenner said she talked with some of the neighboring business owners, and a few remembered seeing someone matching the suspect's description loitering in the parking lot.

"That's pretty normal with the college right there," she said, "so nobody really thought anything of it."

The clerk described the suspect as a white man who looked about 20 years old, with short-cropped, light brown hair, Lt. Don Engler said.

"He's about 6 feet tall, with a medium build," he said. "He was wearing a dark, long-sleeved shirt, possibly maroon, with a lighter colored overshirt, and possibly blue jeans."

The suspect fled northwest from the shopping center in mid-Payson.

Payson police officers were joined by officers from the Department of Public Safety and the Gila County Sheriff's Department in their day-long, town-wide search for the suspect, but turned up few leads.

"We've even had the (security camera) tapes checked from Woody's and the Express Fuels, but so far, those haven't revealed anything," Engler said.

Police looking for information
Police urge anyone with information about the suspect to call the Payson Police Department at 474-5177. Callers can remain anonymous.

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