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Ax-Wielding Man Arrested in 7-Eleven Robbery in Santa Barbara

What started out as a petty theft escalated into a much more serious incident early Tuesday at a Santa Barbara convenience store.

At about 2:45 a.m., Santa Barbara police received a call of a man with a knife threatening a clerk at the 7-Eleven store at 331 W. Montecito St., according to Sgt. Joshua Morton.

It turned out the suspect — later identified as Robert Jude Giles, 35, a transient from out of the area — was actually wielding a small ax, Morton said.

The incident began when the suspect entered the store and allegedly tried to pilfer some small items, Morton said.

When he exited the store, the clerk followed him and told him to either give back the items or pay for them, according to police.

He then pushed the clerk, who responded by pepper-spraying him, Morton said.

The suspect left, but returned a few minutes later armed with the ax and screaming at the clerk that he was “going to slice his face off,” Morton said.

At that point, police were called, and the suspect fled.

After viewing surveillance video and getting a suspect description, police located Giles near Bath and Montecito streets and took him into custody without incident.

Giles was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on suspicion of armed robbery, making criminal threats and brandishing an ax.

Giles has a lengthy criminal history from other states, Morton said.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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