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Saturday, June 21, 2008

MAN TRIES TO ROB STORE WITH PALM TREE ?


DELAND, Fla. -- A Central Florida man armed only with a large palm frond robbed a store in a crime described by police as one of the most bizarre they've ever seen.

Police said Gelando Olivieri attempted to rob the V&F Discount Beverage store in DeLand by threatening harm with a spiked Spanish bayonet, a palmetto-like plant with sharp points on its leaves.

"The man came in with the branch. I have never seen anything like this," owner Goutam Sarkar told the DeLand-Deltona Beacon Thursday.

Surveillance video showed Olivieri wildly waving the palm frond in front of a worker's face.

Investigators said Olivieri threatened to use the leaves to stab if he wasn't given $50.

"(The plant) was sharp," Sarkar said.

Before any money was exchanged, Oliveiri was chased out of the store by a man armed with a bar stool.

Oliveri was arrested a short time after the crime and charged with armed robbery.

Some residents called the Oliveri creative after hearing about the crime.

A police official said the leaves of the Spanish bayonet are like knives and that people often plant them under windows to stop break-ins.

Watch Local 6 News for more on this story.

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