Rock Hill service station owner, 79, robbed again during home invasion

jmcfadden@heraldonline.comFebruary 6, 2013 

— This time, Carl Jackson didn’t go right back to work.

The 79-year-old owner of one of York County’s few full-service gas stations instead lay in a hospital bed at Piedmont Medical Center, recovering from shortness of breath and suffering from congestive heart failure after three masked men broke into his home Tuesday night, held him at gunpoint and stole $3.

The intruders kicked in the side door of Jackson’s house, went into his bedroom and held him at gunpoint around 10:45 p.m. Tuesday, according to a York County Sheriff’s report.

Jackson told police that all three men, whom he described as young males wearing dark clothes and dark gloves, had pistols when they told him to give them money, the report states. He said he didn’t have any.

The robbers took his wallet, stealing the $3 that were inside. Two of the men ransacked the house, while one kept the gun on him. When they were done, they fled.

The break-in was similar to the first time Carl Jackson was robbed at his house in September, when three masked men stopped Jackson, carrying a box of two bank bags, before he was able to walk into his house near the full-service station he works at six days a week.

In that robbery, the men ordered Jackson to hand over the bags filled with $2,000 cash. One robber held an object, possibly a knife or gun, at Carl Jackson.

Still, Carl Jackson, who will turn 80 in three weeks, said no. One of the men pushed him to the ground and picked up the box. They fled, leaving Carl Jackson to crawl to his house, where he called his son.

With a cut on his nose, Carl Jackson returned to work the next day, he told The Herald.

But not Wednesday. The sheriff’s report says Jackson was “very short of breath” and, because of several health problems, couldn’t give officers more information. He was taken to Piedmont Medical Center, where hospital officials listed him in good condition.

Still, his family said trouble with his congestive heart failure flared up again.

When Manuel Jackson, Carl’s son, got the call to go to his father’s house, he thought his dad was suffering from medical problems.

“I had no idea he was robbed until I got there,” Manuel Jackson said. Tuesday’s home invasion “upset him. ... It pushed him over the edge.”

No arrests have been made in connection with the first robbery, said Trent Faris, sheriff’s office spokesman, and officials don’t think the robberies are connected. By Wednesday evening, deputies hadn’t arrested anyone in Tuesday’s robbery.

The service station, at the intersection of South Anderson Road and East Main Street, was closed on Wednesday.

In the three years she’s known Carl Jackson, Margaret Garver has only seen him close the station on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

“One day he may have five, one day he may have 20, but he’s going to be here for his customers,” said Garver, Manuel Jackson’s girlfriend.

Those customers drove into the station, parking their cars either at a self-service pump or a full-service one. They rolled over long black cables that sounded a bell inside the station, alerting Carl Jackson who, in rain or sunshine, would walk outside and pump their gas.

He wasn’t supposed to pump gas at self-service stations, but that didn’t matter.

“He’d pump gas for almost anybody,” his son said. “That’s just the type of guy he is. This place keeps him going. ... It keeps him alive.”

Carl Jackson’s father, Herbert Jackson, built the station in the 1940s. Years later, a restaurant was added to the back.

Carl Jackson would help his father run the station on his breaks from college. He eventually left college to run the station full time more than 50 years ago.

“He never left,” Manuel Jackson said.

“Everybody loves Carl to death,” Garver said. “He’s just a sweet old guy ... just as compassionate as the day is long.”

Garver saw what thieves left behind: A wooden dresser was turned over, laundry was thrown to the floor; kitchen cabinets were left open; sheets, towels and other linen were scattered.

But a pile of change was left untouched, Garver said. The thieves took his prescription medications and the $3 in his wallet, but they didn’t take his coins.

Jonathan McFadden •  803-329-4082

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