Loyal customers help Bastrop County store after armed robbery

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A small Bastrop County store was able to bounce back from an armed robbery thanks to the help of a loyal customer base.

In between Bastrop and Lockhart sits the small community of Red Rock, where many of the residents rely on a general store.

Owners Tracy Hill and her brother John have been loyal to the store for 22 years.

“We’ve been just fully accepted,” said Hill with a gracious gentle smile.

Like any business, they’ve been victim to crime but never an in-person, armed robbery until November 9th.

Hill said that night was particularly slow. Around 7:00 p.m., a young Hispanic man who was “well dressed” and “well spoken” came into the store and asked how much padlocks were. He put them back, then asked for cigarettes but called them “Marlboro whites.” Hill thought he was trying to purchase them for someone else and asked for his ID. She said he had to go get it out of the car.

The young man came back into the store and asked for different cigarettes, cigars and chips. Again, Hill asked for his ID.

“That’s when he fumbled around his shorts and pulled out this ancient Revolver and (said) ‘give your money! Give me all your money!’ I said ‘you’re kidding me,’ said Hill.

Now looking back, Hill said she felt she may have been able to talk him out of robbery because she noticed he showed signs of empathy.

“He kept apologizing,” she said. “Saying he was ‘sorry’ and he ‘had to do this’ I told him ‘no you don’t have to do this’ he said ‘I have a family,’ so I said ‘you’re stealing from my family.’

On Friday, Hill said she got a call from the Bastrop County Sheriff’s office that the driver of the armed robber was in custody. The robber is still at large. He was able to get away with three packs of cigarettes, cigars, chips and $500 cash.

While at the store on Friday, one customer paid for beer and a beef stick with cash and left the change.

“Your couple of dollars here and there has really helped,” said Hill to one of her customers.

Hill said since she posted about the robbery on the store’s Facebook page, customers started to rally around their store.

The day after the robbery, a bread delivery man heard the story and left the order with no charge. Other customers would leave their change or cookies and cakes. Hill said one man even left a $100 bill after his purchase.

Some offered something you can’t put a price on.

“Hugs too. We’ve had hugs galore,” said Hill. “It’s nice, it makes us want to stay.”

Hill said they’ve almost made back what was stolen.

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