Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Stick 'Em Up! Robbers Hold Up Store with Tree Branch

Is this what would happen if we had real gun control? Police in Irvine, California, are looking for two men suspected of robbing a convenience store -- with a tree branch.

It sounds amusing, pitiful even, but if you view the surveillance video, posted with the story by ABC 7 local news, the robber in charge of the branch looks pretty threatening, vicious even. And he swings that thing like a baseball bat. Please note that the branch used in the commission of the robbery is not a stick with a few leaves clinging to it; it is a hefty chunk of wood.

Two robbery suspects entered a Irvine gas station on Nov. 22, ABC reports. The first suspect pretended to want to buy some tires from the gas station. But wait, why does that other guy have a big stick?

Suddenly a second suspect swung into action, wielding the stick and threatening the clerk who promptly gives up and opens the cash drawer. Police tell ABC News the two robbers got away with several hundred dollars in cash and a few packs of cigarettes. They were seen escaping in a blue Ford minivan.

On the off chance you think that the suspects would not be charged with robbery because they did not use a weapon such as a knife or a gun to extract money from the defenseless clerk, think again. Under California Penal Code § 211, robbery is "the ... taking of personal property in the possession of another, from his person or immediate presence, and against his will, accomplished by means of force or fear." No gun required, just fear.

According to the OC Weekly, police arrested the suspect with the stick, Herlin Mendez, 28, of Buena Park, Cal. The other suspect has not yet found.

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