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Twenty-five Years for $61: Police Arrest Man for Armed Robbery of Convenience Store — ‘I Can’t Believe I Got Caught’

Courtesy Casper Police Department

A man who got $61 after threatening to kill a convenience store clerk early Tuesday could get up to 25 years in prison for armed robbery.

The potentially long sentence began with a long cab ride.

Phillip Levron Jones, 26, called Turbo Taxi at 4 a.m. Tuesday and told the driver to take him from his apartment at 1700 W. 25th St. to the Loaf ‘N Jug at 933 N. Center St., according to the Casper police affidavit.

The driver asked why he needed to go across town to a convenience store. Jones responded his cousin worked there and he needed to get money from him.

Once there, Jones told the driver to park beside the store.

Jones went inside, held a steak knife in his right hand and waved it at the clerk. He told the clerk to hurry or he’d kill her.

She gave him $61.

After he left in the cab, she called police and said she had been robbed. She described the suspect as a white male between 25 and 30 years old, “‘scruffy,’” and clad in a red hooded sweatshirt and a ball cap.

Meanwhile, Jones told the driver to go to a church in north Casper where he would meet a friend. After finding no one there, he told the driver to take him back home. On the way, Jones observed the passing police cruisers with lights flashing and remarked, “‘they must be after someone,’” according to the affidavit.

Law enforcement officers soon identified the cab, stopped it, and arrested Jones.

While officers didn’t interview him at that time, the affidavit reported he told them the following:

  • “‘I got money on me.’”
  • “‘I threw the knife in front of the Loaf N Jug.’”
  • “‘If I make a statement that says I did what I did can I get a cigarette before I go to jail?’”
  • “‘In Wyoming how much does armed robbery get you.’”
  • “‘I can’t believe I got caught.’”

At his initial appearance Tuesday, Assistant District Attorney Randall Carnahan told Circuit Court Judge Steven Brown that Jones, if convicted, could face between five and 25 years behind bars.

Jones had been released from prison soon before moving to Casper from Tucson, Ariz., a month ago, Carnahan said.

Brown set Jones’ bond at $100,000.

Jones told Brown he had passed a General Educational Development test and was halfway to earning a degree in psychology.

Jones otherwise didn’t offer much of an explanation for his behavior.

“There’s not much I can say,” Jones said. “I was put in a bad situation and I made a bad mistake.”

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