A robber was stopped early Wednesday morning by Bloomington police after taking cash from an area gas station.
Officers responded to a call from a clerk at the 7-Eleven on West 11th Street reporting that there had been a robbery, said BPD Sgt. Jeff Canada reading from a police report.
The 7-Eleven clerk said a man, later identified as James Edward Harris, had entered the store and tried to get money from the ATM. The clerk told police that Harris was denied several times by the ATM and then approached the counter to try to buy cigarettes with a debit card, which was also denied.
After his card was denied Harris told the clerk to hand over all the money in the register. The clerk told police she thought Harris was kidding until he said, “I’m serious, this is a robbery,” Canada read from the police report.
The clerk said she then gave him the money and he left the store and began riding west on 11th Street on what the clerk described as a ten-speed bicycle.
Officers responded to the scene and retrieved Harris’ information and description from the failed debit card transaction and surveillance tapes.
Harris was pulled over shortly after by officer Anthony Fosnaugh who saw him walking away from a bicycle. According to the police report, officer Ben Burns came from the 7-Eleven and identified Harris from the surveillance tapes. The denied debit card was also recovered.
Harris was then taken into custody. A wad of cash, matching the arrangement and amount described by the clerk, was discovered in his back pocket.
Harris told officers that he had just been released from jail and had been using money from his bank account to buy crack cocaine. Canada read from the police report that Harris stated he had decided to rob the store when he realized his bank account was overdrawn so he had no other access to money for more crack cocaine, which he was intending to buy with the money from the robbery.