Sheboygan couple charged with attempted armed robbery

SHEBOYGAN -- A Sheboygan couple is now charged with attempted armed robbery and robbery party to a crime -- for allegedly holding up a couple of gas stations Thursday.

The accused are Christopher Schmidt and Maria Rothering. If convicted, each faces up to 20 years in prison and $50,000 in fines.

Police say the first robbery took place at the Petro Center on S. Business Drive at 6:45 a.m. The second armed robbery occurred at approximately 7:16 a.m. at Fisher’s Food and Liquor near 4454 S. 12th St.

Authorities say a knife was used as a weapon in both robberies. Officials claim that both robberies may have had a female suspect involved.

One of the clerks who says they were robbed at knife point said Schmidt and Rothering  walked in together wearing hooded sweatshirts and acted like customers walking around the store for 20 minutes, even stacking the counter with items. But just when Schmidt appeared like he was going to pay, he took out a knife and put it at the clerk’s side.

“When the knife came in and I felt the knife and I was like 'okay fine - let him take the money,” Sandra Ruppel, the clerk at Fischer’s said.

Ruppel said she felt conflicted and even briefly fought off the robber for a moment.

“I slammed the drawer on him twice trying to stop him for taking it,” Ruppel said.

The owner of Fischer’s Food and Liquor, Keith Fischer, said one of his regular customers acted as a Good Samaritan and chased the two people in question, even getting a good description of the getaway car.