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Mugging chumps nabbed at the pump in S.F.

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They were running on empty, but they should have just keep running.

The hooded suspect in two early Wednesday armed robberies and his co-conspirators were nabbed by undercover San Francisco police at the Chevron on Pine Street and Van Ness Avenue when the alleged carload of criminals pulled over to fill up minutes after robbing their second victim on Nob Hill.

At 5:39 a.m. Wednesday at Clay and Leavenworth streets, a man was walking to work when a black male wearing a black hooded sweatshirt stepped out of a gray, four-door Hyundai Sonata and shoved a semiautomatic handgun in his face.

The victim, suddenly staring down the barrel of a gun, handed over his jacket, which included an MP3 player and cell phone, before the suspect fled in the car, according to police.

Police responding to the scene could not locate the suspect or vehicle.

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An hour later on Jackson and Powell streets, a black male in a similar sweatshirt robbed another man walking to work of his laptop bag, which contained a computer and organic fruit.

With police cars flooding the area, undercover San Francisco police officers Brian and Irene Michaud, a husband-and-wife team, were headed down California Street and passed Polk Street when they saw the reported gray Sonata coming up toward them, Officer Irene Michaud said.

With the officers following, the Sonata turned left onto Van Ness Avenue and pulled into the Chevron, Irene said.

Waiting for backup because of reports of a gun, Irene Michaud said the suspects appeared calm and collected as they filled up before police rolled up and apprehended the suspects without a shot fired, she said.

The stolen MP3 player, cell phone, and laptop bag with organic fruit in it were found inside the car along with a loaded handgun, according to police.

“We happened to be in the right place at the right time,” Irene Michaud said.

The suspects — Tarus Rhone, 23, and Keith Gilmore, 23, both of Emeryville; Dangelo Levington, 26, of Oakland; and the lone female, Labell Mills, 22, of Manteca — were arrested on charges of armed robbery, conspiracy and possession of a firearm.

Who actually committed the robberies was still under investigation, but the car was rented out of San Leandro and Mills appeared to be the driver, according to police.

dsmith@examiner.com

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