Grapevine Robbery Suspect Arrested

By Patric Hedlund

Anthony Jerome Laws, Sr., of Bakersfield, has been arrested for robbery at knifepoint of a Mobil station in Grapevine off the Interstate-5. It was a Lebec AM/PM station manager, Ginger Fowler, whose actions led to his apprehension.

Frazier Park substation Senior Deputy Richard Garrett said in an interview June 10 that Laws had been videotaped during the robbery, but two quick-thinking clerks made his capture possible.

The Mountain Enterprise has learned that Augustin Ramon of Arvin and Fowler, of Lebec, provided the key observations.

On May 25 at about 11:30 p.m. the man later identified as Laws, 31 entered the Tejon Mobil gas station at Grapevine armed with an eight-inch kitchen knife and wearing a bandana mask. He demanded the clerk give him money from the cash register. Augustin Ramon tried to protect himself by fighting Laws with a plastic trash can, then opened the register and gave an undisclosed amount of money to Laws. Ramon noted that the robber fled in a blue 4- door Dodge Intrepid, according to Augustin Ramon.

On June 5 at about 3 p.m. deputies from the Frazier Park substation responded to a call of a suspicious person at the Lebec Arco AM/PM gas station. The clerk said a subject, later identified as Laws, came into the store and was acting suspiciously. The clerk said Laws left the store in a blue 4-door Dodge Intrepid prior to deputies’ arrival.

Current AM/PM manager Genevieve Oechsner, Fowler’s sister-in-law, reported details in an interview with The Mountain Enterprise Friday, June 11. “He was acting really weird. He came in and bought two candy suckers that came to a dollar and he said, ‘I only want one, for 50 cents.’ He asked for change and then came into the restroom wearing a big coat, crouching down at the end of an aisle of shelving, as if he was examining the camera system. Then he came in another time with the coat, gloves and sunglasses. He had out-of-state plates and was parked on the street rather than in the business area. The store was very busy at the time, maybe he thought no one would notice him. Ginger is good at observing these things. She asked a tall male customer, a regular who she recognized, if he would stick around for a moment. It was actually the customer who made the call.”

A short time later, a California Highway Patrol officer located and stopped a blue 4-door Dodge Intrepid. Deputies responded to the traffic stop and continued their investigation. During their investigation, deputies discovered Laws was in possession of a knife and other evidence indicating he was responsible for the May 25 robbery at the Mobil gas station. Laws was also identified based on video surveillance of the robbery.

Laws was arrested and booked into the central receiving facility for robbery.

In the Thursday, June 10 interview, Deputy Garrett said, “It was the quick thinking of the clerks at both the stations that made it possible to arrest him.” He said of the first clerk’s initial report, “He did a good job,” and then the clerk at the AM/PM store “felt there was something suspicious about the man who came in and she did a good thing by calling us.” Garrett said the robber had a bandana over his face during the robbery. He is a black male, 5’7”, about 150 pounds.

This is part of the June 18, 2010 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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