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Gilbert CottonA store clerk was injured Sunday evening when two men entered the Villa Street Stop and Save, 1304 Villa St., and tried to rob the store at gunpoint.

During the robbery, the clerk was struck in the back of the head, and tried to grab the gun to disarm the man that approached him. As he struggled with that suspect, the second person took his wallet.

Both then began to beat him with their hands and feet, and pistol whipped him, leaving him bloodied and beaten, with head and facial wounds, according to the criminal complaint.

Within a half hour of the robbery, a credit card that was in the clerk’s wallet had been used at a store on Washington Avenue. Video from that store showed the people who were using the card.


Gilbert I. Cotton, 18, appeared to be one of them. He is charged with five counts of identity theft and one of forgery, after he was caught on surveillance video as part of a group that used the clerk’s stolen cards shortly after they were taken.

The group purchased about $60 in grocery items, liquor and cigarettes.

One of the members of the group told police Cotton found the card on the sidewalk, and that they decided to use it.