For the third time in less than a year, a downtown Franklin gas station was robbed.
Police were called to the Admiral Petroleum station, 237 W. Jefferson St., at 2 a.m. Thursday. Police have been called to the same gas station for robbery reports three times since October.
On Thursday, a man came into the gas station, told the clerk he had a gun and demanded money and cigarettes, according to a news release from the Franklin Police Department.
The clerk handed over the items, and the man left the store.
The man did not show a gun during the robbery, the news release said. The man was wearing blue jeans, a blue T-shirt and blue hat.
Police said he is heavyset with a full beard and glasses and in his early to mid-20s, the release said. He was last seen running east toward the courthouse, Franklin Police Department Sgt. John Borges said.
The clerk made a call to store management before calling police, which delayed the response from officers, Borges said. The first officer arrived about a minute after being notified, but the man was already gone, he said.
“You can cover a substantial amount of distance in two minutes in Franklin in your car. People don’t think about that. If you immediately call us, it makes it much more likely we’re going to run across the person,” Borges said.
The gas station has been robbed two other times within the past year, but police don’t believe any of the robberies are connected, Borges said.
On Jan. 29, two men entered the store about 11:15 p.m., and one of them pointed a gun at the clerk and demanded money. After taking the money, they ran north into an alley near the station. About 3:30 a.m. Oct. 2, a man pointed a semiautomatic handgun at a clerk and stole cash and cigarettes.
Police have not made any arrests in either cases, Borges said.
Borges suspects the gas station has become a target for robbers because it is located in an area that is isolated from people at night, Borges said.
Other gas stations or businesses that are open late are located closer to homes or high-traffic areas, such as U.S. 31 or Interstate 65, he said.
Officers who work the night shift know that the gas station has been targeted multiple times, so they try to pass by a few times per night, Borges said.
Anyone with information about the robbery should call Borges at 346-1142.