There was probably no way for the gas station clerk to know that the customer would be carrying a machete. And there was probably no way for the alleged robber to know that the man he was about to demand money from also had a machete, squirreled away behind the counter.
But both of those things were true, according to Huntsville, Ala., police, who released surreal video of the alleged robbery this week.
Video from the security cameras at the Conoco gas station on Pulaski Pike in Huntsville shows a man knocking on the station clerk’s door on March 16 and pulling what appears to be a machete out of his pants. We’ll call him Machete Suspect.
Then the angle of the video changes — we get three different views of this alleged robbery — to the camera behind the cash register. There, we see the clerk has already pulled a machete of his own. Plot twist; we now have a Machete Clerk.
Machete Suspect and Machete Clerk seem to be talking it out for a few moments, and it’s easy to think, given the new circumstances, that they’re negotiating a machete detente. But things escalate, with both men making swings that local media reported left cuts on their hands.
Machete Clerk drives Machete Suspect out of the store, tearing down the front door in the process. Video cuts to the camera outside, and we see the second suspect (Machete Getaway Car Driver?), who is clearly not wielding a machete but engages the Machete Clerk nonetheless.
Upon seeing the pair’s car, Machete Clerk begins to wail on it with the machete — the left headlight, the right headlight, the windshield — which doesn’t do as much damage as would, say, a baseball bat or something with a little more weight to it. Machetes might be sharp, but they are also light.
Cut to the store camera where, meanwhile, Machete Suspect is alone and doing what he allegedly came to do: steal the cash register. He picks it up, uses his machete to slashes through the power cord, and hauls it off.
Machete Clerk is still outside, wailing on the car, while Machete Suspect is inside making off with his register.
And police say the duo was successful — right up until they were caught at a Burger King a few miles down the road.
Laney Nicholson, 33, and Seth Holcomb, 32, of Huntsville were arrested at that Burger King, according to WAAY31 News. Holcomb’s bond was set at $90,000 and Nicholson’s at $75,000.
WAAY31 reports the Machete Clerk did not want to talk about the fight while police were investigating it.
“Others who work [at the Conoco] say this isn’t the first fight at the gas station,” WAAY31 reports, “but it is one of the strangest.”