A Rainbo Oil executive believes news reports about a gas station clerk who disappeared for a week and was eventually charged with felony theft have had a "dire effect" on the company's convenience stores.
Bandits have robbed four Rainbo stores in the Salt Lake area since news media reported that Phillips 66 clerk Robert E. Lindsay allegedly stole $4,000 from the station's safes, general manager Frank R. Sida said.Sida said thousands of dollars have been spent to convince crooks that it doesn't pay to rob convenience stores and that Rainbo clerks don't have access to store safes.
"Very small amounts of money are left in the cash register - often less than $50," he wrote in a letter to the Deseret News.
Apparently the program was working successfully for Rainbo - only one store had been robbed in the past eight months.
But "since that $4,000 figure hit the news approximately two weeks ago, we have had four robberies, with one robber getting only $14," Sida wrote.
He said Rainbo Oil is worried about the upswing in robberies because someone may get hurt.
"Our employee may not be able to convince a robber that he or she only has access to $14," he said. "I can't think of any news that's worth someone being shot."
News reports about Lindsay's disappearance circulated after police suspected he was kidnapped from a Taylorsville Phillips 66 store April 25.
Investigators stopped considering the case a kidnapping after his vehicle was found two days later at a Thrifty Car Rental lot. Employees said Lindsay showed up at the business about 4:50 a.m. and rented a Dodge Spirit for two days, according to court documents.
He was later arrested in Flagstaff, Ariz., and charged with theft and theft pursuant to a rental agreement, both second-degree felonies. Officials are awaiting Lindsay's extradition.