Gas station robbery turns into a series of mishaps

An idea to rob a local gas station by two young women from Kuressaare turned into a series of mishaps that culminated in conditional punishments of almost four years for both.

Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Escaping from the gas station, the women left behind a trail of clues that made things easy for the police.

Katrin* (20) and Terje* (21) told detectives they were having wine on December 2. Both were in high spirits, with one joke leading to another and an eventual decision to pose as robbers wearing masks in a gas station. They cut eye holes in two hats, took two kitchen knives and drove to the gas station.

Everything happened very quickly after that. The clerk pressed the panic button when she saw the women enter that caused the latter to leave the gas station and run toward their vehicle parked at a distance. As they ran, the girls threw their knives into the bushes. They didn’t get far in the car that ended up in a ditch a mere 100 meters from the gas station. The women continued on foot, while Katrin lost her wallet complete with her ID. The next morning, the girls anonymously called the manager of the gas station using Katrin’s phone to apologize for the incident.

The Pärnu County Court convicted the girls of robbery in late May, handing Katrin a conditional sentence of three years and 11 months and Terje three years and eight months. Both are on probation for four years. The women paid the gas station clerk €500 between them for moral damage.

* Because the women are not public figures, Postimees decided not to reveal their real names to give them a chance to return to the straight and narrow.


PHOTO: Andres Einmann

GAS STATION. The women set their sights on a Saare Kütus gas station on the intersection of Aia Street and Kihelkonna highway. They entered the gas station a few minutes after 9 p.m. on December 2. The location is relatively busy as there is a Rimi supermarket on the other side of the highway that is still open at the time. Across Aia Street lies a four-story apartment building. Katrin pulled out a mask fashioned from a black hat and Terje a purple one and the young women entered the gas station wielding kitchen knives. Katrin was the first to enter, with Terje following a few seconds later. There were no other customers at the time.


PHOTO: Kaader videost

ROBBERY. Katrin stepped up to the counter left of the door, yelled, “Give me the money,” while threatening the clerk with her knife, and sent a change tray flying into the alcohol cabinet that caused it to shatter. That is when Terje entered and also pointed her knife at the clerk. Katrin made a threatening gesture toward the clerk that caused her to press the panic button. “F**k! She pressed the button,” Katrin yelled and the women ran off. Katrin later told detectives the clerk had smiled before pressing the panic button. The gas station attendant remembers the event as not so amusing and admitted to the police she was frightened and in shock.


PHOTO: Kaader videost

ESCAPE. Katrin and Terje turned left after leaving the gas station and ran toward the roundabout down Aia Street. A taxi was pulling up to the gas station. Terje threw her knife into some bushes left of her before taking Katrin’s knife from her and doing the same. “Terje took the knife away from me. I do not remember where she put it,” Katrin later said. Terje’s partner’s Ford Explorer was parked roughly 300 meters from the gas station next to some garages. The girls only took off their masks when they reached the SUV and threw them into the back seat. Terje got behind the wheel and Katrin took the front passenger’s seat.


PHOTO: Kohtutoimik

THE KNIFE. Police officers found one of the knives in bushes near the gas station the following day. The cooking knife measured 31.5 centimeters in length with a blade over 20 centimeters long. An inscription on the knife read, “Let’s cook accessories.”


PHOTO: Kohtutoimik

LOCATION OF THE CAR. Terje showed the police where they had parked the car before going to the gas station. The woman had taken the car keys without her partner’s knowledge and kept him in the dark as to why she had taken the car after the robbery attempt.


PHOTO: Kohtutoimik

THE DITCH. The girls tired to escape the scene in the car, but everything did not go as planned. “We drove off in a hurry and because it was slippery, I went left off the road and landed in the ditch,” Terje later told detectives. They left the car and continued on foot. During the getaway, Katrin’s wallet complete with her ID card, driver’s license and bank card fell out of her pocket. The wallet was found by an employee of a nearby workshop who gave it to the police.