A ready supply of high-value merchandise, such as diamonds, gold and firearms? Cash on hand? A staff of typically only one or two employees at a time? For those looking to make a quick buck, that’s a pretty powerful trifecta—one that, fortunately, many pawn shop owners and employees are well prepared for, as the following six accounts show.
A robber armed with a gun entered the EZ Pawn pawnshop in San Antonio, Texas, raised the gun in the air and announced a robbery. A customer, who is also a Right-to-Carry permit holder, exchanged fire with the criminal, striking him in the stomach and ending the robbery. The customer was also struck in the exchange, but after receiving medical attention the criminal and customer are expected to survive. (KSAT, San Antonio, Texas, 6/22/11)
When four masked men walked into the Prairie Creek Pawn Shop in Muncie, Ind., owner Adam Kennedy knew that they weren't there to conduct a normal transaction. When one of the robbers pulled out a revolver and fired it at Kennedy, Kennedy returned fire with his own handgun, wounding the gunman. The would-be robbers all fled. The wounded suspect was dropped off at a hospital. He and two suspected accomplices were soon apprehended. (Muncie Star Press, Muncie, Ind., 8/28/04)
An East Hartford, Conn., pawn shop employee shot and killed one of two masked men when they attempted to rob the store. Bill Kane was working in the rear of Tom's Pawn Shop about 5:30 one Tuesday evening when two masked men armed with metal pipes entered the store. Kane's coworker, Ralph Lane, was working at a jewelry bench at the front of the store when the men came in and began swinging the pipes and demanding that the safe be opened. When one robber hit Lane, he pressed an alarm button that summoned police. The second robber headed toward the back of the store. Kane warned the approaching miscreant that he was armed, but the man continued toward him with a metal pipe. Kane then drew his .380-cal. handgun and shot the robber. Upon hearing the shots, the robber's cohort fled the scene. (The Hartford Courant, Hartford, Conn., 11/21/01)
Seeking a suspect in a botched pawn shop holdup, Huntsville, Ala., police didn't have to look far before finding the man's vehicle parked in front of the store with his daily 'to do' list inside that, incredibly, included the penciled-in reminder to 'Rob pawn shop.' The man had allegedly entered the store, asked owner John Dempsey to show him some stereo equipment and then, as Dempsey turned away, stabbed him with a knife. Dempsey pulled his .32-cal. handgun and, after chasing his assailant who stopped long enough to inflict additional stab wounds, fired a shot that found its mark. Police later apprehended the man and charged him with robbery and attempted murder. (The Huntsville Times, Huntsville, Ala., 9/9/99)
A brazen gunman left his car idling 50 yds. from the Sulphur Springs, Texas, police station one morning, walked into The Pawn Shop nearby and opened fire with a small-caliber handgun, striking two workers and a customer with as many as nine shots. What the man didn't know was that the store's co-owner, Jay Price, was in the back and had heard the entire barrage. After arming himself with a 12-ga. shotgun, the storekeeper emerged to fire one deafening blast from the smoothbore, dropping the assailant with serious wounds and ending the assault. "We believe that if Jay Price had not acted the way he did that there would have been some fatalities," said Sulphur Springs Police Chief Donnie Lewis. "The victims who had already been shot were probably saved by Jay Price." (The Winnsboro News, Winnsboro, Texas, 5/11/99)
George Waters offered up the performance of his life after two armed, masked youths entered the Taylor Mill, Ohio, pawn shop where he worked and demanded money. Waters faked a heart attack, clutching his chest and falling to the floor in order to activate an alarm. But one of the gunmen began to suspect he'd been had, so Waters repeated the performance. This time, when he stood back up, he had a .45-cal. pistol in hand. He shot both masked bandits, wounding one critically. (The Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati, Ohio, 4/10/98)