Push for better protection for convenience store clerks continues

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GREENFIELD – Officers arrested a man who tried to force a Speedway clerk to leave with him after threatening her with a knife.

The armed robbery happened Wednesday around 11:48 p.m. at the Speedway on North State Street in Greenfield. Officers said Brandon Hendrickson, 35, demanded money. He was accused of showing the clerk a knife and then forcing her behind the counter. Detectives said Hendrickson tried to take her with him.

The clerk managed to push the panic button, which got officers to the location in time. Hendrickson was shocked with a stun gun outside the gas station after he refused to put down the knife.

“It’s just kind of crazy. It feels like the criminal activities in Indy are reaching Greenfield now,” Dustin Gray said.

According to the police department, Hendrickson could be charged with armed robbery, criminal confinement, and battery. He was arrested.

During the past few months, law enforcement agencies have reported violent crimes against store clerks. At the end of March, a man was accused of robbing the Circle K gas station in New Whiteland. He demanded money from the clerk and then pointed a gun at a customer. He forced him into a car and ordered him to leave. The suspect was dropped off in Indianapolis.

“It’s ridiculous because something needs to be done,” said Perry Tole, an advocate of better protection for convenience store workers.

Tole is the brother-in-law of Marcy Birnell, who was shot in the head more than a year ago while she worked at an Indianapolis Village Pantry. Since it happened, Birnell’s family has pushed for “Marcy’s Law,” a measure that would mandate more protection for convenience store workers. Also known as House Bill 1440, the bill was sent to a committee but not heard. It could be heard if filed during the next legislative session.

Tole said he’s not sure what it will take to pass the bill and admitted he’s frustrated.

“It’s simple. (You need to) create a barrier between the employee and the criminal and at least give them a degree of protection,” Tole said.

He’d like to see changes at every convenience store, such as the addition of bulletproof glass. Tole wants to prevent what happened to his family member from happening to anyone else, saying that every crime at a convenience store brings back painful memories.

“We’re experiencing this firsthand. We know what this is like. We know the devastation this has carried on a daily basis,” Tole said.

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