TYLER (KYTX) - A homeless man is in Smith County jail tonight accused of robbing a Tyler convenience store
early this morning.
It happened just before 3 at the Food Fast on Houston Street.
Police say officers were able to arrest the man quickly because they arrived at the gas station seconds after the robbery.
Offer Don Martin said the two officers who made the arrest pulled up to the gas station, to get something to drink, as the robber was leaving.
When the clerk told them she'd just been robbed, they jumped into action.
"So, it was being at the right place at the right time."
Martin says most officers are trained to be on high alert whenever they're walking into businesses in the middle of the night."
He says the officers who ended-up arresting 34-year-old Robert Jackson, had seen him walking out of the store as they were pulling up.
"Kind of look what's going on in the store because you never know what you're going to walk into. And, in this case, they walked into a robbery.
"It's too dangerous."
There's too much going on out here and it's scary as heck. It's scary. Voncl Payne works as a caretaker at a home across the street, from the store.
She says the robbery is too close for comfort.
"It makes you feel uneasy about where you live because here, most of the time, we leave the back door open, but, man, come on."
Officer Martin says Jackson asked the clerk for three packs of cigarettes.
Jackson then, allegedly threatened the clerk and told her that if she didn't just give him the cigarettes for free, he would come behind the counter.
"She gave him the cigarettes just to hold onto."
She was getting real scared then.
And then, at that point, he said I want all the money in the cash register and the safe.
She gave him the money, and he left.
That's when police pulled up.
Officer Martin says police chased Jackson across the street and had to TASER him.
But that didn't stop him from hopping the fence into the backyard next to Payne's.
"It's scary. I mean, to think that something so close can happen to where you live and then, people come and running from the law."
Police arrested Jackson in the backyard.
"We're thankful that, one, the clerk wasn't hurt, and two that we were able to take him into custody and get him arrested."
"This is a first for me. This is a first, hopefully a last."
Police say Jackson never showed a weapon.
The store clerk did not want to talk about her experience or let us videotape inside the store.
Jackson is charged with robbery and evading arrest.
He has a criminal history in Smith County.