Robber Threatens To Light Hotel Clerk On Fire

For a gut-wrenching moment, a hotel clerk, soaked with lighter fluid as a robber taunted him with threats to set him on fire, feared the worst.

But the assailant apparently fumbled while trying to carry out his threat, ultimately sparing the clerk's life. One officer tells 11 News it's unclear exactly what happened, but he thinks it's likely the lighter failed to work at that fateful moment.

The clerk was working an overnight shift at the Clarion Hotel in downtown Colorado Springs when the suspect appeared in the lobby around 1:30 a.m. The suspect first demanded cash, then doused the clerk with lighter fluid.

After the suspect failed to carry out his threats against the clerk, he stole money from the cash register and ran away from the area. Police, accompanied by K-9 units, searched the area, but were unable to find any trace of him.

The suspect has been described as a black man in his 40s, 5-foot-11 to 6-foot-1, weighing between 170-180 pounds. He reportedly sports a scruffy beard with bumps on his face. At the time of the robbery, police say he was "neatly dressed."

He was last seen fleeing the Clarion Hotel, located on the 300 block of W. Bijou.

Anyone with information on the suspect's whereabouts is asked to call police at 444-7000, or call Crime Stoppers at 634-STOP to remain anonymous.