February 4, 2009
It may be a galactic first - a Colorado Springs 7-Eleven robbed early Wednesday by a man wielding a Klingon Bat'leth blade.
It's the weapon of choice for the war-like race on "Star Trek," but fairly rare in stickups on Earth.
"They had to show me what it was on the Internet," said Colorado Springs police Lt. Steven Tobias.
The robbery happened about 1:45 a.m. at the 7-Eleven at 145 N. Spruce St., off Bijou Street near Interstate 25.
A clerk told police that a man in a dark jacket and a black mask entered the store wielding the long, curved metal blade conceived for the science fiction franchise that grew out of the 1960s television series.
The robber got away with an undisclosed amount of cash. A second attempt 25 minutes later ended unsuccessfully when the man ran away empty-handed from another 7-Eleven at 2407 N. Union Blvd. No one was injured.
"If this individual is arrested, the charge will be the same as if he carried a gun," said police spokesman Lt. David Whitlock. "It's considered a deadly weapon."
The knife-edged novelties are replicated for Star Trek fans with a yen for collectibles and can be purchased from Web sites, pawn shops and other weapons dealers.
According to Wikipedia, "Star Trek" lore holds the Bat'leth was forged about 625 A.D. by the Klingon Kahless, who dropped a lock of his hair into the lava from a volcano before he plunged the lock into a lake and twisted it into a blade.
Police said the weapon - crescent-shaped and about a yard long - seems ill-suited to robbing convenience stores.
"I can't imagine it's very easy to conceal," Tobias said.
In the fictional universe of "Star Trek," Klingons were initially portrayed as a threat to the peaceful members of the United Federation of Planets. Depictions of the Klingons changed over time, however, and they eventually became known more for their strict warrior code, said Mike Coco, the manager of Bargain Comics in Colorado Springs.
It's unlikely that such a code would allow for a common heist.
"They're set up along a kind of a clan system, so it would be putting your house in a bad light," said Coco, who said he knows "way more about ‘Star Trek' than any normal person should."
"It wouldn't (fit), unless you could rationalize in your head that you were sort of a privateer for the Klingon cause," he said.
Police say the uniqueness of the weapon could be the key to their investigation.
"That's a lead that obviously we're going to jump on," Whitlock said. "We'll try to see if we can determine at least what the rareness is of these" - a probe that could take detectives to the very places where Trekkies like to window shop.
Surveillance images have been turned over to investigators but they will likely be of little use in identifying the robber because of the mask, Whitlock said.
Contact the writer: 636-0366 or email@example.com. Christopher Short contributed to this story.