WOODLAND PARK — There was always a lot of activity at the pumps of the highway Western Convenience Store where Karen Lagrone worked as a cashier, but she had never seen anything like this.
"Cops swarmed, flak jackets on, guns pulled," she reported. "They surrounded a Jeep Cherokee heading toward pump number eight."
Three of her frequent customers were being arrested. And they were not just your nickel-and-dime criminals. They were part of the feared "Texas Seven," the gang of murderers, rapists and robbers that escaped from a Texas prison on December 13, killed a policeman, and led authorities on a nationwide manhunt for six weeks before their capture in this small mountain town 18 miles west of Colorado Springs.
The 23-year-old Lagrone had not been alerted to the elaborate net being thrown over the gang, so it came as kind of a shock when the showdown occurred. "I didnt have time to get scared," she said. "It was over quick."
Shortly afterward another member of the gang was taken alive in a nearby RV park where the Seven had holed up until the park owner became suspicious and called the Sheriff. One committed suicide inside the RV and two others were arrested two days later at a motel in Colorado Springs.
Lagrone doesnt have any pity for the men. "They made their bed and they have to lie in it," she said. But in the three weeks that they shopped at the store she enjoyed serving them. "They were very nice, very polite. They would joke around with you."
They wore ordinary clothing: jeans, t-shirts, and Army jackets. They bought Mountain Dew, burritos, chips and propane for their RV. She didnt find it unusual that they always paid with cash, usually $50 and $100 bills.
"They said they were on vacation," she said. "I dont watch the news much or read the papers and I had never seen their pictures."
Linda Allee, manager of the store, was not on duty at the time of the incident but she has had to deal with the aftermath, "hordes of reporters. They did spend some money."
Business, in general, has not picked up because of the notoriety the store received. But Allee said the store had not tried to capitalize on it, either. "We just wanted things back to normal," she said. "We do a nice business here."
Allee said a few people have dropped in out of curiosity. "They said they were looking for ski resorts in the area [the nearest is two hours away]. Then theyd ask which pump was the one where the arrest was made."
The convenience store became the locale for the arrest purely by circumstance. It was the first stop the fugitives made after officers trailed them from the RV park.
All of the surviving prisoners have been returned to Texas. Three of the men were housed in the Teller County jail, a small facility about 14 minutes from the convenience store, while they fought extradition for several weeks. 75-year-old Sheriff Frank Fehn made good on his promise: "They wont get away from us."
Fehn had a lot invested. He had led the team that captured the group.
BLOOMFIELD — The "Green Cabs," fueled by compressed natural gas, have been forced out of business.
EarthCab began operating in November with the goal of providing environmentally-friendly taxi service offering high technology and trained drivers.
The companys fleet consisted of seven Ford Crown Victorias and five Honda Civics. They served five communities north of Denver.
Business was good, but the rising cost of natural gas discouraged investors.
DENVER — The price of regular self-service gasoline was higher in Colorado in March than the national average.
It was selling for $1.457 a gallon as compared with the national average of $1.431.
The lowest prices in the state were in Colorado Springs where a gallon of fuel dropped 1.3 cents to $1.382, according to AAA Colorado.
Vail, a popular ski area, had the highest prices in the state at $1.849 a gallon.
Prices increased in Pueblo but fell in Denver, Durango, Fort Collins, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, and Greeley.
Originally published in the April 2001 issue of the O&A Marketing News.
Copyright 2001 by KAL Publications Inc.
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