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RACINE — An 18-year-old Racine man who told police he robbed a gas station Wednesday night as a joke now faces a felony armed robbery charge that could land him in prison for 20 years.

Brendan S. Voigt, 4618 Victory Ave., made his initial appearance for the attempted robbery on Thursday in Racine County Circuit Court. Voigt, who is being held in custody on a $7,500 cash bond, also faces a maximum fine of $50,000 if he’s convicted.

Voigt is due back in court Oct. 20 for a 9 a.m. preliminary hearing. In addition to the felony armed robbery charge, Voigt is charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

The criminal complaint: robbery in progress

According to the criminal complaint, Racine Police were dispatched to the BP Gas Station, 3502 Rapids Drive, at 9:51 p.m. for a report of a robbery in progress. When police arrived, they found Voigt sitting on the ground near the entryway to the store, and he was taken into custody.

The clerk told police that Voigt walked into the store with a face mask pulled all the way up to his eyes, wearing a baseball hat, with a hooded sweatshirt pulled over his head. He allegedly had one hand concealed in his waistband, and after he asked for cigars behind the counter, he shoved a backpack under the glass protector and yelled, “put the money in the bag, put the money in the bag,” the complaint states.

Shortly after, the clerk was able to shut the glass safety divider, call 911 and lock the doors. When he told the defendant police were on their way, Voigt panicked and tried to break the doors to get out. He was unable to do that, grabbed a drink from the cooler and “forcefully threw it at the door.” The drink exploded, but the door remained closed.

Police viewed surveillance video, which matched what the clerk had stated. While they were searching Voigt, he allegedly uttered, “this was because of a dare,” and “it was a joke.” Police did not locate a firearm, the complaint states.

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