CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - There are many armed robberies around Charlotte. Some of those crooks are eventually caught, but this is a story of a robber who almost catches himself.
The Airport Express gas station at Little Rock Road and Wilkinson Boulevard is aptly named.
It sits adjacent to Charlotte-Douglas International and has been there for decades.
It's old, small and has a surprising number of surveillance cameras.
Just past 10 p.m. on a Thursday, a young man wearing black clothes with locks and diamond earrings, enters the front door.
Surveillance cameras record him getting a drink from the cooler. Then, walking down the aisle and paying at the front counter. We also see him exit and walk through the parking lot to an unknown destination.
One hour later, he's back. This time, he's wearing a white jacket.
"It's possible the two times he came in the store before the robbery, he was casing it out and building up confidence to commit this robbery," said CMPD Detective Brandon Miller.
About 5 minutes after his second appearance, he's seen waiting outside the store. The clerk was just coming back from a smoke break. He unlocked the front door and the guy followed him in.
As he enters, he pulls on a mask, then pulls out a gun. He reaches over the counter, but can't lay his hands on the loot, so he walks around the counter.
"He walks around the counter because the clerk isn't moving fast enough for him, once he's behind the counter, the clerk points to the register and says, have at it."
And he ended up stuffing his pockets.
"We're thinking he got right at $600 initially, but as he was running out of the store, he dropped about $200 of that," Miller said.
He's in such a big hurry, he almost makes a big mistake. With the gun in his left hand, it fires and he flinches as the bullet narrowly misses his own leg.
"We believe it was accidental because it looked like on video it actually startled himself," Miller added.
He was last seen running down Wilkinson Boulevard.
Call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 with information leading to his arrest and you could receive $1,000 as a reward.