'Gumby' robbery suspects plead not guilty

City News Service

A young man who allegedly tried to rob a Rancho Penasquitos convenience store while dressed in a Gumby costume pleaded not guilty Tuesday to three misdemeanor burglary charges, as did his alleged accomplice.

Jacob Kiss, 19, and Jason Giramma, 20, both face up to three years in jail if convicted, according to the District Attorney's Office.

According to the San Diego Police Department, a Gumby impersonator entered a 7-Eleven store in the 9700 block of Carmel Mountain Road shortly after midnight Sept. 5 and announced the robbery.

An employee, thinking it was a joke, said he had cleaning to do and didn't have time. But the man in the costume — later identified as Kiss — claimed to have a gun and fumbled with the unwieldy suit as if trying to retrieve a weapon, Detective Gary Hassen said.

Gumby's companion, in street clothes, went into the store with him but then walked out, Hassen said. He later honked the horn of a minivan to get the costumed person to leave, he said.

Hassen said Kiss later surrendered to police and gave a statement. Investigators confiscated the Gumby suit.

Widely broadcast surveillance video soon made the crime a nationalweird news'' punch line, featured on CNN,The Daily Show with Jon Stewart'' and other network and cable TV shows.

Kiss and Giramma — who are out of custody on their own recognizance — will be back in court Nov. 23 for a readiness conference.

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