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Police say man armed with cigarette lighter attempts robbery

May 10, 2007|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - A man covered his face with a pair of blue women's underwear and used a cigarette lighter designed to look like a small caliber pistol in an attempt early Wednesday to rob an Inwood, W.Va., convenience store, police said.

Steven Clay Stephenson of 324 N. Mildred St., Apt. 4, in Ranson, W.Va., was arraigned hours later by Berkeley County Magistrate Joan V. Bragg on charges of attempted armed robbery, driving under the influence of alcohol, petit larceny and improper registration.

Stephenson, 34, was captured several minutes after 4 a.m., when police learned of a robbery attempt in the ROCS convenience store at 4701 Gerrardstown Road, according to court records.

Stephenson and Andrew Lloyd Wines of Kearneysville, W.Va., were found by police along Pointer Way attempting to change a flat tire on a Jeep Cherokee, according to a complaint filed by State Police trooper J.D. Schuessler.

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Wines, 22, was arraigned on a misdemeanor count of petit larceny, stemming from the alleged theft of a tire from a Pointer Way residence.

According to a complaint filed by West Virginia State Police trooper P.S. Kennedy, Wines told police he "dozed off" in the Jeep while Stephenson was inside the ROCS store.

The store cashier told police the robbery suspect was wearing a black shirt, blue jeans and had his face concealed with the underwear when he entered the business, according to Schuessler's complaint.

The cashier told police that the man walked half way around the counter demanding money, but she refused and wasn't sure if the gun was real or a cigarette lighter once sold at the store.

"She stated when he went to leave, (he) said 'this is just a joke,'" and got in the Jeep and drove east toward U.S. 11, Schuessler noted in her complaint.

Police said Wines indicated he saw Stephenson came out of the ROCS, where he believed they were going to get gas, with the pair of women's blue boxer shorts or underwear around his face.

Wines said Stephenson was "flipping out" when they left the parking lot and indicated they had been drinking alcohol earlier, according to Kennedy's complaint.

From ROCS, Wines told police they drove to the Sheetz at the intersection of U.S. 11 and W.Va. 51, where the Jeep struck a curb, flattening one of its tires.

Wines said Stephenson then drove the car down a side street to get another tire, according to Kennedy's complaint.

A witness there told police he saw two men changing a tire outside his residence, and police later discovered the tire was stolen from another vehicle parked nearby.

The witness told police he saw Wines lift the Jeep up to help change the tire.

In Stephenson's pants pocket, police later found three lug nuts belonging to the victim of the tire theft and a cigarette lighter designed to look like a pistol, police said.

The underwear was found between the Sheetz and a neighboring car lot by Berkeley County Sheriff's Department Deputy C. McCulley, who along with State Police trooper J.B. Flanigan, assisted Schuessler with the investigation.

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