Instead of getting any cash from a 7-Eleven, a Gumby suit-wearing robber in the San Diego area ended up 26 cents poorer early Labor Day.
With his hands raised over his head, the green slab of clay went into the Rancho Peñasquitos, California store with another man (who wore normal clothes) at about 12:30 a.m., store surveillance video shows.
The Gumby impersonator first asked for a pack of cigarettes but then told the clerk, “This is a robbery,” said Detective Gary Hassen of the San Diego police. Considering his approach a joke, the clerk replied, “Come on man, don’t waste my time. I have things to do,” adding that he had to clean up.
However, “Gumby” declared that he was serious and had a gun. He then tried reaching in his pocket as if he were looking for a weapon.
The costume caused considerable difficulty. The suspect fumbled around for a few minutes, then gave up and walked out, said Hassen. “Gumby” left with even less money than he had coming in, as he left behind 26 cents that fell from his pocket, Hassen added.
Meanwhile, the green-costumed guy’s accomplice had gone outside. He was in a white or silver minivan, honking the horn.
The clerk thought the whole thing was a joke, and hadn’t heard of the Gumby character. He didn’t report the incident until 6 a.m., when the store manager arrived. The manager then notified police, Hassen said.
The store’s surveillance cameras caught everything. “Yeah, it’s hilarious to look at it on the video,” said Hassen. “But, it is a very serious crime and we take it very seriously.”
Wearing a Gumby costume is no different than any other disguise that would-be robbers could wear, Hassen added. “It could have been a ski mask. It could have been a bandana. It could have been a hoodie. It just happens to be a Gumby costume.”
The clerk was seen on video leaning down to pick up the loose change that the Gumby impersonator dropped. He told his boss that the costume resembled a green version of the SpongeBob SquarePants.
“Gumby” was described as tall and green, with a wedge-shaped head.
His friend was described as white, about 18 to 22 years old, 5’6 to 5’8″ tall, and between 150 and 160 pounds. He had black hair, and was wearing a gray cap, a dark hooded sweatshirt and dark blue shorts.
Both men could both face felony charges of attempted robbery if arrested, Hassen said.
Of several San Diego costume shops contacted, the only one with a Gumby costume was the Buffalo Breath Costume Company, which received Gumby costumes Tuesday.
A reward of up to $1,000 is being offered for information leading to the arrest of the “Gumby” robber and his accomplice.
Anyone with information is asked to call San Diego Police at (619) 531‑2000.
Meanwhile, at least three other incidents of convenience store robbers dressed as cartoon characters have been reported this summer.
In Oklahoma City, police are looking for two masked men — one wearing a Spider-Man mask — who allegedly robbed Fred’s Food Mart on August 5. In video taken by the store surveillance camera, the Spidey fan is shown pointing a gun at the clerk. According to NewsOK.com, his partner can be seen wearing a blue mask.
Two weeks earlier, a man dressed as Nickelodeon character SpongeBob SquarePants allegedly robbed a 7-Eleven in the Orlando, Florida area. And in July, a man wearing Spongebob pajama bottoms robbed a Family Dollar Store in north Harris County, Texas.
Back in 2003, a suspect wearing SpongeBob socks was arrested for trying to rob a bank of $30,000. The male was 12 years old at the time.
Yes, this image from a security video shows the main suspect in Monday’s attempted robbery of a San Diego-area 7-Eleven.