Teen thwarts knife-wielding bandit

CLINTON — Police are looking for a man who attempted to rob a young man at knifepoint outside of the Clinton Chevron station.

The attempted armed robbery happened Friday, Sept. 14. Police have since released a sketch in the hopes that someone who knows or has seen the alleged suspect will come forward.

The suspect appeared to be approximately 55 to 60 years old and about 6 feet, 1 inch tall. He weighed about 150 pounds and also had thinning gray hair.

Police said he was wearing a black or blue plaid shirt, jean jacket and black pants spattered with white paint.

The victim, 18-year-old Bryce Joseph of Greenbank, had just finished his shift at the Subway restaurant at 10 p.m.

He had taken the night’s garbage out to the dumpster behind the store when he turned around and saw the man, who demanded his shirt and money.

“He had a knife out, so that was my first concern,” Joseph said.

“If he would have tried to do something with his hands, I would have handled that. But I was watching that knife,” he said.

Joseph saw his chance to escape when the would-be robber stumbled.

“He then hit the back of the curb and as soon as it looked like he was going to fall over, I ran around the corner. I was gone.”

Joseph went back into the building and Lisa Shuler, the service station’s cashier, grabbed a golf club and told him to dial 911 as she locked the doors.

“I was very shocked and surprised,” Shuler said. “I couldn’t believe it. I have been here more than nine years and nothing like that has ever happened.”

Joseph said the man was very nervous.

More nervous, it seemed, than he had been.

“He was nervous and was shakier than I was. He was an older guy; real old,” Joseph said. “He was stuttering a lot through it.”

Joseph, who is leaving the island in a couple of weeks to join the Air Force, was also surprised at the man’s choice of weapon.

“It was a ‘MacGyver,’ a Swiss Army knife, the kind with a corkscrew on it. I was pretty surprised about that,” he said.

While Joseph was disappointed that the suspect was not captured on the station’s video cameras, he said he will not soon forget the man’s face. The suspect had a distinctive forehead, Joseph said.

“If I saw him again, I would recognize him and call him out, too,” he said. “The forehead and everything. It almost made me think I’d seen him before, it was that impressionable.

“People I’ve worked with here say they know who it is, that he is a little guy, his van burned down or something. I will make a scene if I see him and call the police,” he added.

Joseph also added that solo trips to the dumpster are now verboten.

“I won’t let anyone go back there alone. It doesn’t need to happen to anyone else.”

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Island County sheriff’s tip line at 360-679-7319.

Spencer Webster can be reached at 221-5300 or at

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