Woman hit clerk, fell asleep on relative’s front porch

After hitting a clerk in the head with a hammer and stealing cash and cigarettes from a Franklin gas station, a homeless woman fell asleep on a relative’s porch two blocks away, police said.

Elizabeth Bower, 25, who had been living in a Franklin park, was charged with interfering with reporting a crime and robbery with injury, according to court documents.

Bower told police she felt like she had been forced into robbing the gas station because of being homeless and losing her job, the documents said. She also told police she had considered hitting the clerk a second time with the hammer but didn’t because of the fear in his eyes, the report said.

Police were called to the Admiral gas station, at 237 W. Jefferson St., about 4 a.m. Aug. 17. The store clerk had run out to the street to flag down help.

The clerk told police a woman he recognized as a regular customer came into the store and was getting snacks and a soda. She called him over to the soda fountain for help and then hit him in the head with a hammer, demanding cash and cigarettes, the report said.

She then demanded money from the store safe and started grabbing cash out of the register when the clerk wasn’t fast enough. The clerk told her he didn’t want to turn around or bend down because he feared she would hit him again with the hammer, the report said.

The woman then took both the clerk’s phone and the gas station phone and left.

The clerk, who was taken to Johnson Memorial Hospital for treatment of a head wound, told police he knew the woman as a regular customer. She had told him she and her boyfriend lived in nearby Province Park because they are homeless, the report said.

Police went to the park and spoke with Bower’s boyfriend, who was sleeping in a park shelter and did not know where Bower was.

Shortly after, an officer driving around noticed a woman sleeping on the porch of a home in the 200 block of West King Street, where one of Bower’s relatives lives. Officers woke up Bower and brought her to the police station.

Bower initially denied having anything to do with the robbery. Police told her the clerk had picked her out of a photo lineup, showed her security videos of the robbery and told her they had found evidence in the robbery. Bower then told police she hit the clerk with a hammer and stole cash and cigarettes, the report said.

Police searched Bower’s bag and found five cartons of cigarettes and more than $300.

Bower was taken to the Johnson County jail, where she was being held on $33,000 bond.

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Annie Goeller is managing editor of the Daily Journal. She can be reached at agoeller@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2718.