BERRY HILL, Tenn. (WKRN) — Dumb criminals and good police work usually means bad guys go to jail.

That is exactly what happened Monday morning in Berry Hill after robbery suspects ran out of gas during their low-speed chase.

It happened Monday morning at the MAPCO on 8th Avenue South, that’s where a man identified as Richard Ewing pretended to have a gun. He flashed the clerk a message and then went behind the counter.

The message written in dark magic marker read: QUICK AND EASY. GIVE ME THE CASH.

Surveillance footage showed Ewing stealing cigarettes and stuffing his pockets with cash from the register.

“He has his hands in his pocket like he has a gun,” said Investigator Tony Russo with Berry Hill Police Department.

Police say the 39-year-old stole lottery tickets on the way out. He ran to his minivan parked at the car wash nearby. Then, he drove onto the main road with no headlights, directly in front of a Berry Hill officer.

The officer turned on her lights and the van continued to drive south at 30 miles per hour. Within a minute, the van slowly pulled to the side of the road.

Police say the van, unbelievably, ran out of gas.

The officers converged, and using their squad car loudspeakers, ordered the driver to get out and walk backward.

With guns in hand, Berry Hill Police walked Ewing into a set of waiting handcuffs.

On his way to the patrol car, Ewing seems confused, asking officers “What’s the problem?”

“Why you guys jammin’ me up like this?” Ewing said as the rear door of the squad car slammed shut.

Berry Hill Police worked together taking a second man and a woman into custody without incident.

“The officers work well together; they are quick to understand each other. As soon as the first officer started radio activity, these officers work together,” said Chief Tim Coleman.

Adding insult to injury, the police do a show up at the store where the clerk laughed after positively identifying Ewing as the thief who just robbed him.

Coleman said good police work and dumb criminals is a good combination for law and order.

“To our advantage, bad luck is very good to have. We are fortunate in this situation they were not the smartest people out there,” said Coleman.

Richard Ewing
Richard Ewing

Ewing went to jail on aggravated robbery. The second man in the car was charged with a probation violation. The woman was let go after police say she was not part of the crime.