Suspect wielding lit roman candle and hammer robs 2 gas stations

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Two gas stations have been robbed this week by a suspect who entered the businesses with a lit roman candle and hammer in his hands. The suspect was wearing a bright yellow mask during the robberies, described by police as similar to a “Jabbawockeez” mask with a hood.

The first robbery happened at 10:46 p.m. on Wednesday at the Shell gas station at 7510 N. MoPac Expressway, near Anderson Lane. At first the clerk, Pijush Adhikary, thought it was a regular who had put the mask on to have some fun with him.

“Then I realized it’s not fun, and he was asking [for] money. Blam, blam,” he imitated the sound of the roman candle, “‘Give me your money, give me your money.’”

The masked man demanded money from the clerk and left with an undisclosed amount of cash.

In the second robbery, the man walked into the 7-Eleven at 3848 Airport Blvd., near Manor Road, at 5:25 a.m. Friday. Surveillance video shows the roman candle go off at least twice in the store before he makes it to the clerk, who has his hands raised in the air.

At a news conference Friday, Austin Police Sgt. William White called it “bizarre.”

“This is the first time we’ve seen anything like this particular one,” White said. “This certainly falls into one of the higher realms of strangeness that we’ve dealt with.” During Friday’s robbery, two other masked suspects remained outside in their vehicle. White couldn’t say if the other two may have been involved in Wednesday’s robbery.

The suspect inside the 7-Eleven demanded cash, leaving with an undisclosed amount of money. No one was injured in either robbery. The suspect is described as a white male, 5-foot-9 and thin. He was wearing an olive green Adidas jacket with orange stripes, a green shirt and dark pants.

Officers describe the suspect vehicle as an older model green or dark green 4-door car with a garbage bag over the broken left rear window. There is also collision damage to the rear of the car.