Police: Man set woman on fire during East Texas robbery

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Palestine PD

Police in Palestine arrested a man for setting a woman on fire during a convenience store robbery.

The vicious attack happened Thursday morning in the city two hours southeast of Dallas.

Police said Robert Thompson walked into the Pitt Stop on Link Street to rob the place. There were two women inside – a clerk and a customer.

Thompson allegedly pulled out a gun and demanded money from the cash register. He then ordered the women to the ground, bound them with tape, poured lighter fluid on them and set the customer on fire, police said.

“For whatever reason, before he left he decided to light or put some lighter fluid on both the cashier and the customer and then proceeded to light the customer on fire... if you can believe that,” said Palestine Police Chief Andy Harvey. “Watching it on video, I just can’t describe it. It’s just a horrible feeling even to see that take place.”

The customer is now recovering from her burns at Parkland Hospital in Dallas.

“Although she did suffer some burns around her head and of course her hair was burned, she was able to put out the fire before it became life-threatening,” Chief Harvey said. “Thank God that either of them were not more severely injured. We’re grateful for that.”

Officers arrested Thompson at another convenience store in Palestine Thursday night.

“That’s a good thing for our city and our community because this individual is a violent person,” the police chief said. “I’m extremely proud at how our patrol officers and detectives worked tirelessly since this happened to get this individual off the street.”

Thompson, who is from the Palestine area, has a criminal history that includes several drug offenses.

He’s now facing charges for aggravated robbery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. His bond was set at $2 million for each charge.

Chief Harvey said investigators are also working to determine if a woman who was in a car with him was involved in the crime.