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Originally published Sunday, April 5, 2009 at 12:00 AM

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A quiet end in Yakima to father-daughter robbery saga

Robert Daniel Webb's 1,200-mile-plus odyssey ended quietly in the driveway of a north Yakima home Saturday afternoon. Webb, whose image was beamed around the world holding a gun on a store clerk while his 9-year-old daughter stood beside him, reluctantly surrendered to police.

Yakima Herald-Republic

Robert Daniel Webb's 1,200-mile-plus odyssey ended quietly in the driveway of a north Yakima home Saturday afternoon.

Webb, whose image was beamed around the world holding a gun on a store clerk while his 9-year-old daughter stood beside him, reluctantly surrendered to police.

"He didn't have anywhere to go," said Ryan Jolly, one of several Yakima residents whom Webb had called while on the run and who tried to persuade him to surrender.

"All his friends had turned against him. They all called the cops on him. 'I told him, why don't you come back up to Yakima?' "

The subject of a nationwide search, Webb had last been seen Wednesday in Northern California, where he left his daughter safely in the hands of an acquaintance before narrowly eluding police there. The 42-year-old former Yakima resident had been sought by police since Tuesday when the AM/PM minimart in Thorp, outside Ellensburg, was robbed.

Video from the store shows Webb pointing a handgun at the store clerk while his young daughter stood at his side. On the video the man threatens to kill the clerk if he called police, but he also tried to explain himself.

"I'm out of work. My daughter's got to survive," he said on the video.

The images and story circulated worldwide.

Jolly said the night after the robbery he called Webb on his cellphone to try to persuade him to turn himself in. Jolly said he had known Webb for several years through Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in Yakima and that he had baby-sat Webb's daughter last summer.

The call only lasted a minute before Webb hung up, according to Jolly, who said he considers Webb "somewhere between an acquaintance and a friend." Then around 2 p.m. Friday, Webb called from California and sounded desperate, Jolly said. That's when Jolly said he asked him to return to Yakima: "He was suicidal. I just wanted him to be able to stop before he hurt himself or hurt anybody else again. He traumatized his daughter."

Shortly before 1 p.m. Saturday, Webb pulled into Jolly's driveway in the 100 block of North Third Avenue. He seemed drunk, Jolly said.

Jolly said he invited Webb in, fixed him a sandwich and tried to talk him into turning himself in.

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When Webb stepped outside to smoke a cigarette he looked anxious and was pulling his keys out, Jolly said.

"He thought I was going to let him go. I told him, 'You either turn yourself in and I'll go in with you, or the cops are going to take you. Enough is enough.' "

Jolly said he then blocked Webb's car with his own to prevent his escape and threatened to chase him on foot if he ran. He then called police as Webb watched, he said. Police arrested Webb a few minutes later.

He wasn't really ready to turn himself in, he was mad, Jolly said.

"Everyone in the world knew who he was. He was going to [get] caught," said Yakima police Lt. Tom Foley. "His friend did him a favor."

Webb was first taken to the Yakima police station and later transferred to the Yakima County jail.

Webb was rather quiet. He knows he's looking at jail time, Foley said, adding that he seemed "kind of relieved it was over."

Information from The Associated Press was included in this report.

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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