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Friday, Mar 27, 2015

Man admits to November Hess robbery, detectives say

Hernando Today staff report

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BROOKSVILLE - Hernando County deputies have arrested a man they say acknowledged trying to rob two gasoline stations in November.

"This is a stick up," Steven Ray Willis told a employee at a Hess station at 18365 Cortez Blvd. on Nov. 25 after asking for a pack of cigarettes, sheriff's officials said.

The employee then had a medical episode and couldn't breathe, sheriff's officials reported. Willis said he would harm her if she didn't give him money, authorities said; the clerk screamed she was being robbed when a customer entered the gas station, and Willis fled.

Later that day Willis went into a Hess station at 1950 E. Jefferson St. in Brooksville and told the clerk, "This is a stick up," deputies reported. When the employee didn't hand over money, officials said, Willis tried to buy a pack of cigarettes with a debit card that was declined, then left.

Investigators watched video surveillance from both gas stations, and Willis was identified as a suspect.

The 49-year-old Brooksville man was arrested Wednesday on two charges of robbery (no firearm or weapon), as well as violating his probation for driving with a suspended license.

He was being held in jail without bail.

Court records show Willis has been convicted of drunken driving and driving with a suspended license in Hernando County.

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