Photo courtesy of the CLEARWATER POLICE DEPARTMENT
Andre Trevor Puskas is charged with attempted armed robbery with a weapon after trying to rob his workplace.
CLEARWATER – Clearwater police detectives didn’t have to look far to find the man who tried to rob a Radio Shack at U.S. 19 and Sunset Point road Feb. 12. It turned out that the suspect, Andre Trevor Puskas, 20, works there, and he showed up for his shift little more than six hours after the robbery attempt.
During the robbery, the suspect wore a ski mask and used pepper spray on an employee. He also tried to shoot her with a stun gun but ended up shooting himself in the hand.
“He didn’t plan this very well, nor was he prepared for the unknowns,” said John Brown, a Clearwater police robbery detective.
Puskas of Clearwater allegedly entered the store a little after 9:30 a.m. and showed the victim that he had a stun gun tucked in his waistband. She dropped to the floor, but when she moved, he sprayed her in the eyes with pepper spray. She got up and ran out the front door to an adjacent business. She reported that she felt the stun gun pressed against her back as she tried to get away, but it apparently misfired and got the suspect’s hand instead.
Puskas tried to get out the back door, but it was locked and he didn’t have the key for it. So he, too, had to run out of the front door and ran around to the rear of the store, where he dumped his navy blue ski mask in the dumpster.
The store employee thought that it was strange that the suspect never said a word to her, almost like he did not want her to hear his voice, police said. She also took note of his large physical description - 6 feet 2 inches tall and 280 pounds.
Detectives had a hunch they would find their man later when 4 p.m. rolled around. The suspect was a few minutes late because of rain that day, but he still showed up for his shift.
“He walked in like nothing happened,” Brown said.
Police said Puskas later admitted to detectives that he tried to rob the store, where he has worked since October. He said he needed the money to pay for car insurance and his cell phone bill. The stun gun and pepper spray were also recovered in his car.
He was charged with attempted armed robbery with a weapon and was being held at the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $150,000 bond.