Police call slaying of Macon store clerk ‘cold-blooded’

The 29-year-old clerk killed Sunday night during an armed robbery at a Riverside Drive gas station cooperated fully with the bandits, Macon police said Tuesday.

Dipak “Danny” Patel died moments after the robbery from a gunshot wound.

“Mr. Patel did what he was told to do,” Capt. Robert Grabowski said during a late afternoon news conference.

Patel and another clerk were inside the store about 10 p.m. with two customers when two men dressed in black walked in, Grabowski said.

One of the men went behind the counter and started grabbing money while the other man kept a gun pointed at the clerks. The customers stood to the side with their hands up.

As the men left the store, one of them fired a shot that struck Patel, who was standing behind the counter.

It’s unusual that robbers shoot a clerk after they already had the money in their hands, Grabowski said.

“Usually, all they want is the money.”

He described the killing as “senseless” and “cold-blooded.”

Police are reviewing surveillance video footage from the store and are checking tips from the community, Grabowski said. No one has been charged with the robbery or with Patel’s death.

The suspects were last seen running up Riverside Drive toward Madison Street.

Grabowski said reports of robberies are up slightly from last year. Statistics show 214 robberies were reported between Jan. 1 and Aug. 14, compared with 367 reported for all of 2008.

Macon police launched a 34-day robbery task force in February with 38 officers who targeted areas based on crime analysis information.

Grabowski said although the task force is smaller now, it’s still operating.

“But you can’t be at every store 24 hours a day,” he said.

It’s important that stores use surveillance equipment to aid police in investigations, he said.

Macon police have been in contact with Milledgeville police and have compared notes between Sunday’s killing and the July 15 slaying of a convenience store clerk there.

Tuesday, detectives from Baldwin County traveled to Macon to view surveillance tapes from the Macon case. They wanted to see if images matched with those taken during the fatal shooting at the Lina Food Store in Haddock, just outside Milledgeville. Capt. Brad King said it appears the two incidents are not related.

Dilipbhai “Danny” Patel was gunned down during a botched robbery at his store on Irwinton Road.

Anyone with information about Sunday’s robbery and Dilipbhai Patel’s slaying is asked to call police at 751-7500 or Macon Regional CrimeStoppers at (877) 68-CRIME.

Information from The Telegraph’s archives was included in this report. Staff writer Liz Fabian contributed to this report. To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.