Attempted armed robbery outside Imperial church

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IMPERIAL, Mo. – Two high school students were confronted by an armed gunman outside St. Joseph Catholic Church in Imperial in an apparent drug-related robbery.

According to Grant Bissell, a spokesman for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, the robbery happened Sunday night around 7:50 p.m.

The students, a 17-year-old female and 18-year-old male, were waiting in the parking lot when a car with two men inside pulled up and blocked them in.

“There’s certainly always that possibility somebody could have been killed in the situation,” Bissell said.

One of the suspects came up to the passenger side window where the girl was seated, forced her out of the vehicle, and began demanding marijuana.

Both students told the gunman they didn’t have any drugs. However, the armed man didn’t believe them and ransacked the car searching for narcotics. The suspect demanded the keys to check out the trunk. He couldn’t get inside and the high school student didn’t not how to open it either.

“The young man said, ‘I don’t know, it’s not my car,’” Bissell said.

The suspects eventually gave up and fled. If caught, they could face charges of robbery and armed criminal action.

Some people who live in Imperial were stunned by what occurred.

“It’s scary to hear about stuff like that in this area,” said resident Loan Beavers.

The church pastor sent a letter to the congregation. He reminded churchgoers that in 2019 they must always constantly be vigilant. The pastor said even before this incident the church had planned to install multiple surveillance cameras around the church, rectory, school, and parking lots.

“Sadly, it’s the spot where we're in, in 2019. It’s how it is right now anything can happen anywhere; that’s the sad part,” said resident Joey Sorg.

Neither student was injured during the robbery.

Detectives said they’re considering mistaken identity as a possibility for the robbery.

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