'Gumby' attempts to rob convenience store, but fails

A person dressed as Gumby walked into a Southern California convenience store, claiming to have a gun and demanding money, but costume trouble and a skeptical clerk thwarted the would-be robber.

Surveillance video shows someone - police think it was a man - in a bulky, green costume and another man entering 7-Eleven in Rancho Penasquitos early Monday.

Gumby demanded money, but the store clerk thought it was a joke and ignored the life-size Claymation character, telling him he was cleaning up and didn't have time to waste, said San Diego police Detective Gary Hassen.

"You don't think this is a robbery? I have a gun," the costumed man said, fumbling inside his costume as if trying to retrieve a weapon, Hassen said.

But the green-gloves seemed to get in the way, and rather than pull a gun, he dropped 26 cents on the floor, Hassen said.

The video shows the second man, who came in with the Gumby suspect, but was not dressed as Pokey, walk out of the store.

The costumed character "can't pick up the money and he can't get the gun," Hassen said. So when the other man pulls up in front of the store and honks, the would-be robber runs to the white or silver minivan and takes off, Hassen said.

San Diego's KGTV News reported that the clerk told his boss he didn't know who Gumby was and described the character in the store as a "green SpongeBob SquarePants."

The clerk didn't report the encounter, but his boss called police after viewing the surveillance tape several hours later.

Police are taking the attempted theft very seriously, Hassen said.

It doesn't matter if a potential robber is wearing a ski mask, a bandanna, a hoodie or a big, green head - it's still a disguise, he said.

A reward of up to $1,000 is being offered by Crime Stoppers.

No other Gumby thefts have been reported in the area, Hassen said.

There have been no arrests, but police hope the surveillance tape will change that. People may not recognize the person under the Gumby suit, but his partner is very recognizable, Hassen said.

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