The most dangerous job in town

Police officer, fire fighter and palm tree trimmer aside, one of the most dangerous jobs in Tucson has to be the Circle K clerk.

In addition to demanding customers and folks who try to rip off a Ho Ho or two, these poor clerks are the targets of a steady stream of robberies and other crimes.

Actual crime scene photo/PCSD

Circle K robbery Jan. 17/PCSD

The most recent was Sunday around 6:30 a.m. when two guys jumped over the counter at a Circle K at Orange Grove and Camino De La Tierra.

The two dudes made the clerk stand in the corner while they piled cartons of cigarettes into trash bags, taking off with a haul worth several thousand bucks. Wonder if they got any Marlboro.

The only photos of the suspects show off their creative disguises. Maybe someone will recognize their shoes.

The Pima County Sheriff’s Department news release expands a bit on their descriptions:

“The suspects are described as two Hispanic or Caucasian males, 5’7” to 5’9” tall, approximately 20 to 25 years old. One of the suspects had a black Diamond Backs baseball cap; short sleeve white T-shirt over a long sleeved shirt, black shorts, and black slip-on canvas deck shoes. His face was covered with a scarf. The second suspect had a blue zip-up hooded jacket, black baseball hat, black Converse low tops with white shoes, laces and a dark collared shirt with multi-colored stripes. His face was covered with a mask.”

Circle K robbery Jan. 17/PCSD

Circle K robbery Jan. 17/PCSD

Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or 88-CRIME.

Although this particular robbery was in the county, we can get the general gist of how many convenience store robberies go down in town with Tucson police statistics.

There were five robberies so far this year, 124 in 2009 and 141 in 2008. Please note these stats include all convenience stores and Quik Marts are another prime target.

But Circle K crimes seem to stick in our minds. A brief dive into news archives surfaces with the following:

Daniel Tarango, 18, was shot and paralyzed from the waist down by a Circle K security guard trying to stop Tarango’s friends’ botched shoplifting attempt on June 3.

Four Tucson teens, one 15-year-old and three 16-year-olds, were arrested last August for their convenience store armed robbery crime spree that had started back in March. Most of their holdups were Quik Marts, but they hit a couple Circle Ks.

A 35-year-old woman and her boyfriend were arrested about a year ago for a string of convenience store armed robberies. Police later found out their gun was designed to only fire blanks and their biggest haul from all nine stores was less than $1,000. Might as well get a job – that would be far less trouble. Their targets included two Circle Ks, five Quik Marts, a 7-11 and a Smoke ‘M shop.

Robberies are not the only hazards surrounding Circle K. The place also seems to attract gunfire.

Circle K robbery Jan. 17/PCSD

Circle K robbery Jan. 17/PCSD

Joshua Parsons, 19, was shot and killed Aug. 17, 2008, while sitting in a car outside of a Southwest Side Circle K. Police say Parsons was doing nothing wrong.

The car the teen was in had been pulling out of the lot when someone in a nearby SUV and a man coming out of the store both started shooting. One of the man’s bullets hit Parsons. Alejandro R. Bencomo, 21, was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder.

Roy David Fierros, 17, was killed in a gang-related shooting outside a Circle K the afternoon of Oct. 13, 2008.

Fierros had been inside the convenience store, at the corner of South 12th Avenue and Drexel Road, when at least three guys came up to him and a verbal confrontation ensued. The argument escalated into gunfire, with Fierros being shot outside the store.

Police said the three men and Fierros were from rival gangs.

Sometimes the blessings of working from home never cease.


What do you think?

Have you ever worked a dangerous job? What was it?

What’s the most dangerous situation you’ve encountered at your job? Gunfire? Angry customers?

Would you or have you ever worked in a Circle K or other convenience store?


About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at
This entry was posted in Crime, danger, death, gross stuff, life, Police/fire/law and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to The most dangerous job in town

  1. azmouse says:

    On the list of dangerous jobs has to be working in a hair salon. I’ve been robbed with a gun pointed in my face, and I’ve been smacked around and locked in the bathroom at work by robbers. I even once talked a guy out of robbing me by telling him we had a really bad money day and that he would be making his Mother so sad if she knew what he was doing…he actually got caught and arrested.

    • Rynski says:

      wow!! i would think the scissors and other sharp implements would be danger, not to mention getting harsh chemicals in eyes, but i would not guess that hair salons would be a target for robberies and other crimes.
      you are brave to talk the guy out of robbery – you are amazing, az!
      did he start crying when you brought up him shaming his mother? glad he was caught. double yuck on being locked in bathroom.
      i recall other horror stories of workers being made to strip and then get locked in closet/bathroom/back room/wherever. hopefully you got to leave clothes on!
      ice cream shop where i once worked was robbed at gunpoint – come to think of it, the hair salon must have more money than a $3/cone place. i’ve also encountered a rabid bat hanging from office ceiling, but thought the gunpoint was more dangerous for poll answer.

    • Jennatoolz says:

      Wow Azmouse! Like Ryn, I wouldn’t have thought that hair salon’s would be a target for robberies! Very cool that you were able to talk that one guy out of it, I’d be scared sh*tless. Lol 😛

      • azmouse says:

        Hi Jenna,
        One time these two guys robbed us and when they left, I went running after them down Broadway. So I’m running and cussing at them and as I’m running, I start thinking…what happens if I catch them?!?! LOL

      • Jennatoolz says:

        LOL! You’re a brave soul, indeed.

  2. Jennatoolz says:

    Heya Ryn! I’m barely awake here! When I was lookin’ for my first job (and any other time I was lookin’ for a job), I avoided applying at places like Circle K for this very reason! I have a very good friend that works at a Circle K here in Tucson, and I worry that something like this would happen at her store while she’s working.  So far so good!

    My guy tells me about a some “shady” people that come into his store a lot (he works at a smoke shop, for those who don’t know). He was threatened just the other day too! A guy was trying to get some freebies, and after being denied, the guy said something along the lines of, “Well how would you like it if I just robbed the place, huh?!” My guy then asked him if he’d like to get shot. Of course, my guy didn’t really have a gun on him, but the shady guy didn’t know that. That guy left after that and they didn’t get robbed, but it’s still kinda scary!

    My most dangerous job would be that dog bathing job I had when I first started working. I was bitten by a couple dogs, but nothing too incredibly serious. The worst I ever got was an enormous bruise on the under side of my arm (near my armpit) from a dog trying to bite me while I was clipping his toenails. Ouch! There are some really difficult dogs and sometimes you just aren’t sure what they’re capable of!

    • Rynski says:

      hiya jenna!
      those dog bites sound nasty! i bet it’s even worse if the dog’s owner is standing right there cooing and purring while the dog chomps away at your armpit. yikes.
      i’ve been bitten by plenty of birds and small animals working at the pet store…bird bites can be quite painful, esp. if they lodge their little beak tips into your cuticles – but nothing like a dog armpit bite.
      i was thinking about the dangers of smoke shops, too, since one of the stores on one of the robbery lists above was a Smoke ‘M. glad your guy scared away the shady guy. that does sound incredibly creepy and scary, for sure.
      i hope your circle k friend stays safe, too. so far so good is very good.

  3. radmax says:

    Other- Sub-contract trouble shooting for Freeport Gold. My most memorable harrowing experience at work was hanging above a huge mixing tank at a gold ore processing plant outside Elko Nev. Suspended above the noxious concoction and spinning agitator blades supported only by a heavy rope tied around my waist. I was doing some torch cutting on a defective pipe mount…upside down. Cyanide and caustic soda alarms ringing in my ears. I tell ya, that was the most exciting, never know what you’re gonna be doin’ next job I’ve ever had. Got another story, same venue, about a guy who lost his leg while we were moving a 5 ton electromagnet…oh and climbing a 160 ft high communications antenna, more torch work, wind about 40mph… storys for another time. 🙂

    • radmax says:

      Almost broke with tradition, you had me so excited by this topic!
      Ahem…Mornin’ Rynski! 😉

    • Rynski says:

      wow-ee, radmax. sounds like you are very lucky to be alive – and with all your limbs. that stinks about a guy losing his leg with an electromagnet. eek! actually, losing your leg from anything would be horrific.
      cyanide is always a fine substance to work with, although i may prefer asbestos in the long run.
      geesh o pete – so glad i have a fairly safe occupation (even if it’s one that some folks despise).
      p.s. mornin’ back!

    • Andrew Ulanowski says:

      Wow Radmaxian! It sounds like doing stunt work. Glad you are in one whole piece instead of several . . .

      • radmax says:

        Hey Andrew. Amazing what you’ll do for a buck. I actually enjoyed it then-it gets to be like a test of what you are made of everyday. Another time a bud of mine and I were being hoisted in a ‘bucket’ with a crane into an empty 45,000 gal plate steel tank to do some welding prep grinding-long story short, the dipstick operator of the crane didn’t get us high enough over the top lip of the tank and the damn thing started tipping like it was gonna dump us out! That was…thrilling…wouldn’t do it now for ten times what I was makin’ then. 😉

  4. koreyk says:

    I must be lucky.  My most dangerous encounter was with a fellow employee’s world class BO.  Fortunately for my olfactory nerves, he was also grossly incompetent, so he didn’t last long.

    I did once climb 80 feet up the side of a scaffold to the top of a geodesic dome covering an orangutan habitat (under consttruction, no orangs’), but that was my choice and not a job requirement.

    • Rynski says:

      hahhaha! while the BO is funny now, koreyk, i highly doubt it was that amusing at the time.
      perhaps his BO was an early indication of his incompetence, as he evidently was not competent enough to take a daily shower. haha.
      the geodosic/orangutan climb sounds like a blast – even more fun if the orangs would have been inside. glad you climbed safely.

      • koreyk says:

        The climb was definitely a blast.  I had a vidcam hanging around my neck, and got an interesting, if shaky video.  There also was a point about 2/3 of the way up where all the sound focused, so you could actually hear someone whispering down at the bottom. 

        Orangutans are incredibly powerful, and I would not want to be anywhere near an untrained one.  The air conditioning registers in their exhibit were made of solid stainless steel stock, and held in place with 3/4″ one way screws torqued to 200 ft lbs.  They removed all the screws in one day and were throwing the grills against the glass walls of their enclosure.

        One orang seemed to be in love with one of the other architects on the team, and would gaze longingly at him whenever he was nearby, sort of a simian Pepe la Pew.  However, I don’t think a meeting of the two would have gone as well as it did for Seth Green in old Dogs. 

      • azmouse says:


      • Rynski says:

        tooo funny!
        i guess you WERE better off climbing the dome sans orangs. wow.

  5. Ferraribubba says:

    I was working routine patrol in Anaheim, driving as part of an Adam unit (2-man) on a lazy summer Friday afternnoon when we get a call from dispatch that a silent alarm had been tripped at a Savings and Loan about 2 blocks away.
    So we speed over, and just as were pulling up, a man runs out of the building, holding a big cloth sack and carrying a pistol. He hops into a waiting car, and off they go.
    We activate our red lights and siren (code 3) and follow in hot persuit.
    The 91 Fwy. is about a quarter mile ahead, and they enter, heading Eastbound, towards the city of Corona, about 20 miles away.
    A couple of miles down the freeway, the person on the passengers seat, the one with the sack and money sticks his head out his window, points his pistol at us, and begins shooting.
    They’re in the left (fast) lane, and we’re in the middle lane, both doing between 85-90 mph.
    So, my partner unlocks our Remington 20″ shotgun, loaded with 7 rounds of 00 buckshot and makes ready to engage the other car in combat.
    I pull up alongside the suspects car on the passengers side, and he sticks the barrell of our shotgun in front of me and out my drivers side door window.
    He fired two rounds. The first blew out their right rear tire, and the second, just about tore both their heads off.
    It was a 2 fer1 shot at a range of less than 20 feet. Excellent shooting and a savings to the taxpayers of Anaheim of $1.10, the cost of a third oo buckshot round.
    The shooting, causing two deaths went before the O.C. Grand Jury, which came back with a justifiable verdict.
    My partner was given a commendation, and I was named Anaheim City Police Reserve Officer of the Year.
    That and .75c got me a cup of coffee at Marie Calendar’s
    Damn, with all that shooting going off so close to my ears, I couldn’t hear for almost two weeks.
    But the bright side was, I could see the Little Lady, pointing her finger at me and jabbering away, but I couldn’t hear a thing. <g>
    I’ve got some nice B&W 8x10s around here somewhere for show and tell, But I don’t think you could print them.
    Yer pal, Ferrari Bubba

    • radmax says:

      Hats off to our men and women in blue too FB. My dad was a cop, TPD.
      Only fired his gun on duty twice. Both lethal. He didn’t want me to follow in his footsteps, said there was too much BS involved in police work…and he thought Bernard Garmeyer was a putz.

    • leftfield says:

      Sounds scary.  I wonder why we as a society are so intolerant of property damage or theft, yet so tolerant of human injury.  I am not criticizing your actions, FB, just musing about the relative importance we ascribe to protecting property vs human life.

      • radmax says:

        ‘Scuse me for buttin’ in, but shots fired makes one very tolerant of human injury.

      • leftfield says:

        I think I understand what you’re saying.  And the other guys started the shooting.  They’re shooting to protect what they stole and the other guys are shooting to get it back.  Had they been succesful, no doubt the robbers would have ended up doing it again, and eventually shooting someone else. 

        Still, when I was in Phoenix this weekend, I noticed that there were hundreds of cops lined up to protect the Sheriff’s Office from the marchers, yet when someone in the crowd fell ill and collapsed, the speakers were left with asking “Is there a doctor in the house?”.  Ironic.

      • radmax says:

        No medical on standby? Who organized this ‘rally’?

      • radmax says:

        No, the cops were responding to the use of deadly force in kind. I seriously doubt they were dwelling on the loot at that time.

    • Rynski says:

      wow-ee, ferrari bubba. i’d say that counts as a dangerous (and deafening) situation.
      congrats on your police reserve officer of the year award – and your marie calendar’s coffee! haha.
      seriously, though, law enforcement is def a tough and dangerous job and kudos all around to all those who undertake it.

  6. James says:


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