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The Armed Citizen® | Liquor Stores, Part 2

The Armed Citizen® | Liquor Stores, Part 2

Liquor stores are typically open late, generally have the cash register near the door, and often only have one or two employees on staff at a time. Easy pickings for a robber, right? Not when there’s an armed citizen on the premises. 

Just after Memphis police had made the rounds to warn businesses about a serial liquor store robber—who had last been seen wearing a ski mask and was considered armed and dangerous—an armed robber decided to strike I-40 Liquor in Memphis. Unfortunately for him, however, the warning came just in time for the employee on duty that night. WMC Action News 5 reported that a suspect walked into the establishment just past 11 p.m. and pointed a gun at the clerk, demanding cash. It was then that the employee grabbed his own gun and fired, fatally striking the attempted robber. “It was crazy,” said Anna Butler, who works next door to the liquor store. “It happened minutes after we left last night. I know [the employee] never would have done this had he not felt in danger.” Memphis police are still investigating whether the suspect who was killed might have been the serial robber. (WMC Action News 5, Memphis, Tenn., 5/7/2017)

According to local media reports, two armed men entered MGS Liquor in Park City, Kan., around 10:40 p.m. The clerk later told police that one of the men asked “if he was ready to die, because this was a robbery and to give them all the money.” Not ready to die, the clerk pulled his own gun and fired two shots, hitting one of the men, who ran from the store. The clerk held the uninjured robber at gunpoint until police arrived. The injured armed robber was later admitted to a Kansas City hospital for a gunshot wound to the chest. (KWCH, Park City, Kan., 5/26/2016)

A pair of masked men, at least one of whom was armed with what appeared to be a gun, entered a liquor store in San Bernardino, Calif., and attempted to rob the store. The clerks on duty responded to the threat by retrieving handguns and firing at the robber, striking one of the thieves multiple times. The robbers fled in a vehicle, but were quickly captured by police. The wounded robber was taken to a hospital. San Bernardino police Lt. Richard Lawhead told a local media outlet that the robbers might have been involved in other crimes in the area. (Press-Enterprise, Riverside County, Calif., 12/26/15)

A man entered a liquor store in Bridgeport, Conn., producing a firearm and demanding cash from the woman at the cash register—the owner’s wife, as it turned out. “When he said, ‘Give me the money,’ my wife, she opened the register,” said owner John Alves. “That’s why I cocked my gun and I point it at him.” Surveillance video reveals the panicked suspect exiting the premises at top speed. No one was injured in the incident, and police are still searching for the suspect. The Alves family has operated the liquor store for nearly 20 years and has experience dealing with armed robbers. The owner’s son expressed amusement at the outcome: “All I could do is kind of just laugh ‘cause it’s amateurish, very amateurish.” (WFAN, Bridgeport, Conn., 12/4/2015)

An armed criminal entered Liquor World in Louisville, Ky., and attempted to rob the store. An employee on duty responded to the threat by retrieving a gun and shooting the criminal. The would-be thief died after being taken to a hospital. The employee was not injured during the incident. (WLKY, Louisville, Ky., 09/28/2015)

A pair of men, at least one of whom was armed, entered the Helena Package Store in Helena, Ga., and confronted the woman who owns the store. The owner responded by retrieving a handgun and firing at the intruders, striking one and causing the other to flee. The wounded man was taken to a local hospital where he is listed as in stable condition and faces armed robbery charges. Helena Police Chief Glenn Giles has made clear that the store owner will not face charges. (WMAZ, Macon, Ga., 08/27/2013)

After casing the location on two previous visits, an armed robber entered the Chazz liquor store in Florence, Ala., and attempted to strong-arm the clerk. An altercation ensued in which the clerk was able to retrieve a gun and fire at the criminal, striking the robber and causing him to flee. In his escape, the criminal only made it to the store parking lot, where he collapsed and died. After an initial investigation, police determined that the robber was on probation for a previous robbery conviction. Chazz manager Terry Rhodes hoped that the incident would deter future robbery attempts, stating, “I know times are hard and everything, but I hope they'll think twice, because this is not something anybody enjoys doing. You don't want to kill anybody, but sometimes you're afraid for your life, you don't know what they're gonna do.” Police do not plan to charge the clerk. (WAAY, Huntsville, Ala., 11/13/2010; WHNT, Huntsville, Ala., 11/13/2010) 

Two shoplifters entered Gartner’s liquor store in Topeka, Kan., with the goal of making off with some stolen whiskey. After picking a bottle, one of the shoplifters distracted the clerk by pretending to look for his money while the other ran out of the store with the whiskey. The clerk, a Right-to-Carry permit holder, pulled out her gun, and held the remaining shoplifter at gunpoint until the police arrived. Afterwards, Topeka police Sgt. John Trimble stated that the clerk was within her rights when she protected the store’s property, adding, “Everything she did was completely legal,” The clerk had the following to say about the incident, “We have shoplifters every so often; most of them aren't as dumb as these two.” (The Capital-Journal, Topeka, Kan., 10/29/2008) 

Bernis Martin was rushing to close his Wilmington, Del., liquor store in order to buy Valentine’s Day flowers for his wife, when he was startled by four teenagers intent on robbing him. After one of the youths shot at Martin with a .22-caliber rifle, Martin pulled his pistol out and fired back, injuring the rifle-toting youth in the thigh. All four youths were eventually arrested. One local patron of Martin’s store, City Councilwoman Stephanie T. Bolden, said, “I'm glad he opened right back up to let them know that he wasn't going to be intimidated by all of this madness.” (The News Journal, Wilmington, Del., 2/15/2008) 

A string of armed robberies finally came to an end in Wilmington, Del., when one victim fought back. Michael Brown had been on a three-month robbery spree when he decided to rob a local liquor store. When he displayed his gun, the store owner produced a gun of his own. Brown fled, but a police officer who was patrolling the neighborhood spotted him. He was able to track down Brown, who was found hiding under a porch. Brown was linked to at least three other armed robbery attempts and was charged with each of them. (The News Journal, Wilmington, Del., 12/13/2004) 

A stocking-masked robber bent on robbing Cohen Beverage Stores Inc. in Rochester, N.Y., thought better of it when clerk Earl Vogt, 70, reached under the counter and drew a pistol. Though armed with a revolver, the crook backed out of the liquor store when he found himself looking into somebody else's gun. (Democrat & Chronicle, Rochester, N.Y., 01/01/1968) 

In a Harbor City, Calif., liquor store, a man waited quietly for owner Robert Drake to finish talking on the phone. After Drake hung up, the man pulled a gun, scooped money from the till, and then backed towards the front door still pointing the pistol. At this point, someone entered the store. Drake snatched a gun from under the counter and fired at the robber, who fell seriously wounded. (The Press-Telegram, Long Beach, Calif., 03/01/1963)