NewsCrime and Courts


Armed robber arrested thanks to store video surveillance

Convenience store installed new cameras after iconic dinosaur vandalized
Armed robber arrested thanks to store video surveillance
Sinclair armed robbery
Posted at 7:55 PM, Dec 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-19 22:02:11-05

BILLINGS — "I want it all - right now."

That's what 42-year-old Felix Larance said Friday night as he walked in the front door of the Sinclair Quickstop in Billings with a gun pointed at the store's clerk. It's the latest example of a crime with a deadly weapon in Billings.

"I was totally stunned and shocked," said store owner Shay Grinsell. "I could not believe this guy came in and had the gun up."

Sinclair armed robbery
42-year-old Felix Larance walked into the Sinclair Quickstop Friday Dec. 16 with a gun drawn and immediately pointed it at the convenience store clerk.

Shay and her husband Bill were stunned by what they saw on their camera’s phone video feed at home. The clerk quickly emptied out the till, which was only a couple hundred dollars after he had moved some to the safe earlier.

Larance was out the door 31 seconds after walking in, and police were immediately notified.

"Steven (the clerk) did an amazing job. He didn’t panic," Grinsell said. "He took it to another level with the way he handled it."

The work then started to identify the robber. The Grinsells installed new cameras after the iconic dinosaur outside their store was vandalized several weeks ago.

They never realized the cameras would pay off so quickly.

"When we initially watched the video, we were like, 'Wow, those are clear. That’s great,'" Grinsell said.

Billings Police arrested Larance on Monday on suspicion of robbing Sinclair and the Maverick Casino a few blocks west on Broadwater Avenue earlier last week, a good ending to a problem that’s becoming all too familiar.

So neighbors have decided to take action.

"My big TV in my living room, this is my channel, 24/7 for the last three days," said Lucas Smith, gesturing towards the Quickstop. "These are my friends."

Smith lives across the street from the Sinclair. He and other neighbors have turned their cameras to face the gas station, in hopes this is the last time their beloved convenience store is messed with.

"Watching out for each other, that's all we're really trying to do," he said. "Make sure that it doesn’t happen."

"This is a neighborhood store," Grinsell added. "We're going to take charge and keep our neighborhood safe. So I’m encouraged."