BY ART BUKOWSKI
TRAVERSE CITY — A man who robbed a local gas station is in jail after the woman who planned the heist blew the whistle on him, police said.
Police on Tuesday arrested a Traverse City man, 22, and a Buckley woman, 18. Authorities said the pair planned and carried out the Nov. 14 robbery of the Admiral gas station on Front and Barlow Streets.
On Monday, investigators received a call from a woman who said she knew who robbed the station. She provided a name, and officers tracked down the suspect for an interview. He admitted to the crime, police said, but said he had an accomplice: the woman who fingered him.
“Initially, we were skeptical with the suspect’s statement because we felt he might have known who turned him in,” Capt. Brian Heffner said. “However, after following up on information he gave us, we were able to confirm that the woman who provided the tip was in fact involved in the robbery.”
The tipster/suspect — who police said planned the crime, stood nearby while the Traverse City man committed the act and spent most of the stolen money — gave police his name after the two argued some time after the robbery.
“For whatever reason, she felt like she wanted to get him in trouble by reporting him as being the person that committed the robbery,” Heffner said.
She admitted her involvement when police brought her in for an interview after they spoke with the male suspect. Less than $500 was taken from the gas station, and Heffner said the woman used some of that money to pay court fines for a traffic offense.
Two employees were in the station at the time. Both were deeply troubled by the incident and haven’t been able to return to work, Heffner said. A message left for owners or managers at the station wasn’t returned.
“It’s satisfying to get these two individuals off the street for two reasons,” Heffner said. “One is that you have a business that was victimized and incurred a loss of revenue, and two, you have two employees that have both been traumatized by this incident.”
The male suspect went into the station at about 10:30 p.m. He shoved a male employee into a closet and held the door shut while he threw a backpack at a female employee and ordered her to fill it with money. She complied and he ran off.
The suspects haven’t been arraigned. Both remain in jail awaiting formal charges.