Man accused of robbing store for cigarettes while clerk on phone with police

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Dennis Bowdrey

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Midtown gas station clerk was already on the phone with police early Tuesday when a man came into the store and allegedly threatened to shoot him over cigarettes.

The clerk at the Mapco station at Poplar and Belvedere had called police to report a shoplifting from the store around 1:30 a.m.

That’s when police say Dennis Bowdrey walked into the store, pushed his way behind the cash register and told the clerk to get out of his way, or he would shoot.

He then said, “I’m looking for Newports” and grabbed several cartons from behind the counter, police said.

The officer on the line heard the threat and put out a call on the radio as the incident was in progress. Two cars showed up and detained Bowdrey as he was leaving.

Bowdrey was charged with robbery. Police say he had 17 cartons of cigarettes worth $119.

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