West bank armed robbery thwarted

Published 1:30 pm Saturday, March 21, 2015

Shawn Himel

Shawn Himel

EDGARD — A West Bank gas station robbery was thwarted this week when a quick-thinking attendant sounded the alarm, authorities said.

St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to the Shell gas station at 707 Louisiana 3127 in Edgard following an attempted armed robbery report at 3:57 p.m. Tuesday.

Authorities reported no one was injured during the incident.

“The perpetrator was making a purchase at the sales counter,” Sheriff Mike Tregre said in a release.

“When the cash register drawer opened, he told the clerk to give him the money. When the clerk refused to surrender the money, he raised his shirt to expose a handgun in the waistband of his pants.”

The store clerk pushed the alarm button, and the perpetrator fled the store, leaving in a blue Ford Explorer towards St. Charles Parish. Tregre said the gunman sat in the front passenger seat; the driver and a rear seat passenger also occupied the vehicle.

Communication dispatchers notified the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office and provided a description of the vehicle.

St. Charles deputies stopped the vehicle on Louisiana 3127 in St. Charles Parish 10 minutes after the initial call.

“The investigation revealed … the perpetrator acted alone,” Tregre said.

“Investigators identified the perpetrator as Shawn Himel, 45, of Paradis. When the St. Charles Parish deputy attempted to stop the vehicle, the driver and other passenger in the vehicle were not aware of Himel’s action in the store until Himel pointed the gun at the driver and told him not to stop. When the driver refused Himel’s command and pulled over to stop, Himel threw the handgun out the window.”

St. John detectives obtained an arrest warrant for Himel for armed robbery or attempted with the use of a firearm and carrying of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Authorities will transfer Himel to St. John Parish to be booked upon his release from St. Charles Parish.