Violent robberies have business owners on edge

CONROE, TX It was just the latest violent robbery in our area, and it's showing the extreme lengths robbers are going to just to get their hands on any amount of money.

In the span of a week, there have been two violent robberies in two different cities. While they are not connected, the two crimes have one disturbing thing in common: The victims in each case were attacked, one of them even killed, before they could surrender their valuables.

On Christmas morning, a 22-year-old convenience store clerk in Pasadena was gunned down in cold blood for $400 in what police are calling a blitz robbery.

"It certainly is a demonstration of some of the highest levels of aggression I've ever seen in a robbery incident," said Pasadena Police Chief Bud Corbett.

Sound familiar? It should. Two days earlier in Conroe, a woman in her 60s working at a health food store was beaten repeatedly with a piece of pipe during a robbery, and all for just $150.

"It's crazy," said business owner John Killam. "I've been in the jewelry business for 43 years and I've never heard of a robbery like the one that took place at the vitamin store."

They're two different violent crimes with one very disturbing connection. In both cases, the robber attacked his victims without ever demanding money. The question is why?

"They're just evil people, that's all," said shopper Mildred Mauney. "Mean people, as far as I'm concerned."

It's more than that. Mental health experts say aggressive behavior at the outset of a crime is a strong indication that the robber's judgment and thought process has been clouded, perhaps by drugs. What's more, they say it's extremely difficult to reason with a crook who isn't thinking clearly.

"His motivation is probably more towards killing the person, getting the money and getting out of there," said psychiatrist Dr. Richard Pesikoff. "There's no logic behind doing that because there are video cameras all around."

Pasadena police say the accused shooter in the Christmas morning convenience store robbery told them he shot Jayachandra Elaprolu because he was scared. He's now in custody.

Pasadena police say they also arrested the alleged shooter's accomplice. He is also facing a charge of capital murder.

The suspect in the health food store robbery hasn't been caught.

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