Upping the stakes

Upping the stakes

With a violent rash of convenience store robberies plaguing Beaumont, business reps like Exxpress Mart/ Tri-Con operations manager Ron Nicklas say it’s imperative to the community’s safety that the bad actors committing these crimes be weeded out of the crowd.

“Our point of view is pretty straight forward,” Nicklas said. “It’s not like Beaumont is some sort of crime-ridden city. It’s not like there’s bands of thieves going from store to store stealing…”

“I don’t think there’s 100 people out there doing this,” Nicklas added. “It’s more like 5 or 6.”

Those few making it dangerous for customers and employees of convenience stores need to be caught and face justice, he said. And, to ensure that justice is served, Nicklas’ company is hoping a $10,000 reward will elicit some community tips to capture the bad seeds. The company is also asking that other businesses follow suit.

“We’re putting our money where our mouth is. We’ll offer money to turn them in,” Nicklas said. “If everybody was doing that, it would take a lot less time to get these people off the street.

“We’d love to see other convenience store owners, when somebody robs a store, put up a reward. That will get somebody motivated to try to make some money.”

Nicklas said the Exxpress Mart on Dowlen Road in Beaumont was robbed Thursday, Aug. 23, at around 6:30 a.m. by three black males who came into the store, tied up the clerk, took money out of the register and broke open the ATM. 

Video obtained from surrounding businesses showed three suspects walking up to the store before the robbery and then running towards the parking lot after the robbery. A newer model maroon or dark-colored Dodge Charger with paper plates was waiting on them and then fled north on Old Dowlen Rd. The suspects were in the store for less than 3 minutes, Nicklas said, so quick that a customer using the restroom emerged after all was said and done none the wiser. 

“These people knew exactly what they were doing,” Nicklas said. “Two of them had crowbars and sledgehammers. 

“They just walked right in. One person came around and took care of the clerk. And they made short work of the ATM.”

While the clerk did not receive any physical injuries, she did not come out completely unscathed.

“As you would imagine, having your hands bound behind your back was a terrifying situation for her,” Nicklas said. “That’s got to be something to stay will with you.”

As is company policy, the Exxpress Mart employee complied with the robbers’ directions.

“Nobody’s life is worth the few meager dollars we have in our store,” Nicklas said. “We never resist. We always try to cooperate to the fullest with these people. Nothing is worth the precious lives of any of the public or our valued employees.”

The life of a Valero employee shot during the course of a convenience store robbery in the days that followed the harrowing situation at Exxpress Mart still hangs in the balance, as several days after the event the clerk/convenience store owner was still in a coma at a local hospital. 

According to Beaumont Police Officer Haley Morrow, the Valero franchise owner was shot late Saturday night, Aug. 25, when three suspects entered the 1480 I-10 E convenience store armed...

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