Gas station clerk speaks out after robbery attack

The clerk of a Palestine gas station is speaking out after an attack on her and a customer.
The clerk of a Palestine gas station is speaking out after an attack on her and a customer.(Source: KLTV)
Updated: Feb. 23, 2019 at 10:19 PM CST
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TYLER, TX (KLTV) - On Thursday morning, Linda Camire was working as the clerk of the Pit Stop gas station in Palestine.

Around 10 o’clock that morning a customer entered the store, tried to buy cigarillos and left when he didn’t have enough money to do so.

“He went to his vehicle to get the change, but he never came back,” said Camire. “He ended up going down the road.”

20 minutes later, that customer returned but he was no longer interested in purchasing.

“He came to the corner of the counter and ruffled his pant leg and a big role of tape fell out and he had a gun,” said Camire. “He said as long as I was quiet and didn’t make any noise, I’d be alright.”

That man was later identified by police as Robert Thompson.

Thompson taped Camire’s eyes and mouth shut and proceeded to tape her arms to her body.

Shortly after Camire was tied up, a customer tried to enter the store.

“She’s a regular customer and she knew something wasn’t right,” said Camire. “He said he worked here, but she knew better because she knows the people that work here.”

Thompson grabbed the customer, brought her behind the counter and tied her up as well.

That customer was later identified by police as Della Witt-Denizeri.

“Then he proceeded to get a bottle of charcoal lighter and sprayed it all over both of us,” said Camire. “I couldn’t see, but I could hear him get the register drawer and make a lot of noise. Then, when he was done, I guess it was a lighter… he threw it on her and lit her on fire and he proceeded out the door; he was gone.”

Denizeri was able to remove her burning clothing and put out the fire before going to help untie Camire. The two then called 9-1-1 and waited for police to arrive.

“I just didn’t know what was going to happen,” said Camire. “I wanted to help her, but I couldn’t get free. He had me tied up pretty good.”

Camire said the whole experience was awful and she doesn’t ever want to go through something like that again. “I had to get some nerve pills from my doctor so I can sleep at night.”

Both Camire and Denizeri were back at the store the very next day. Camire behind the counter, working and Denizeri stopping by to see her.

“She came in the next day,” said Camire. “I feel so bad for her. She’s probably why I’m alive. He probably would’ve shot me had she [not] intervened, so I’m grateful for her.”

Camire said she hopes if anyone else finds themselves in a similar situation; they remember the value of their life.

“If he says be quiet, be quiet. Just do what he says and hopefully he won’t harm you,” said Camire. “Life is worth a lot more than money.”

Robert Thompson was arrested on warrants for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and aggravated robbery. His bond is set at $4 million.

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