Police say woman used toy gun in robbery

CONWAY, AR – The surveillance footage is shaky because a Conway police officer shot it with her iPhone. The clerk’s hands are shaky for a different reason.

“Right there she has what appears to be a gun,” Conway Police Spokesperson Latresha Woodruff said of a woman in the surveillance footage. Thing is, it was not a real gun pointed in the clerk’s direction. It was a toy.

Eventually the clerk figures it out and snatches the gun out of the woman’s hand. He chases her outside and ends up holding her there until police arrive. Now Laurie Southerland, the woman in the footage, is charged with attempted aggravated robbery.

“If you have a toy gun and you go into a store and you point it at someone and rob the place,” said Woodruff, “it’s the same as if you had a real gun.”

Officers say Southerland told them she wanted lottery tickets from the gas station. Southerland tells a different story. In fact, she says what the surveillance footage captured was not even a robbery.

“I got in the wrong pocket and this toy gun fell out,” explained Southerland. She says she loves the lotto and walked into the Citgo on Morningside Drive in Conway to cash in some scratch-offs. Instead, she claims she reached into the wrong pocket and pulled out her nephew’s toy gun.

When asked why it appears as though she pointed the gun at the clerk in the surveillance footage, Southerland replied, “well if I did I don’t remember if I did. I told him right off, I said this is a toy gun.”

Whether she did or didn’t call it a toy gun is somewhat irrelevant at this point though. Police, who arrested Southerland in full view of one of the gas station’s cameras, weren’t in the mood for games.

Southerland plans to fight her attempted aggravated robbery charge in court. As of now, her court date is scheduled for February 14th.

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