Polite robber has told sob story before

KIRO Radio

The video went viral in just two days. A man with kids to feed, and bills to pay, reluctantly holding-up a White Center gas station over the weekend.

He appeared to be a tragic figure caught up in rough economic times forced only by desperation into crime.

Here is where the needle scratches off the record. Court documents show the man accused of being the "polite robber" has pulled this sob story before and used it in multiple robberies in 2003.

Documents show 65-year-old Gregory Paul Hess used the same story when robbing five banks and a video store. He's still on probation for those crimes.

King County Sheriff's Sergeant John Urquhart says the story seemed to be a little too good to be true. "I was worried about glamorizing a guy like this and turning him into a Robin Hood," he said. "There's nothing glamorous about armed robbery."

And Urquhart says if it was Hess who is responsible for the gas station robbery his story has plenty of holes. "He was living in the basement apartment of a home. There were no kids living with him. He hadn't paid his rent, at least not on a regular basis. So not only is he and armed robber, he appears to be a bit of a liar."

Hess is currently being held on $250,000 bail. The King County prosecutor's office has until Thursday to file charges.

Urquhart did tell us one part of Hess' story checked out. When he was arrested, Urquhart said he was just as polite as the guy on the video.

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