The Armed Citizen® | Cafes

posted on November 2, 2016

Occupying the space between fast food and fine dining, cafes attract a large variety of people—not all of them law-abiding. Worse, once a cafe robbery is successful, word seems to spread: Nearly half these eateries had been victimized before, one of them seven times! Is it any wonder, then, that the armed citizens below had taken steps to protect themselves? 

A would-be robber armed with a Swiss Army knife had the fight taken out of him after Charles "Chuck" Brafford, the cashier of a Des Moines, Iowa, cafe shot him in the arm. The wounded bandit initially fled the Y Not Grill, only to approach a pursuing patron minutes later requesting to be taken to jail. (The Register, Des Moines, Iowa, 7/1/1995) 

The occupants of a Waterbury, Conn., cafe were accosted by a pair of armed men and forced to lie on the floor. With his accomplice posted by the door, a pistol-wielding hoodlum removed money from behind the counter and took cash from the customers and owner. One patron began arguing, and as a scuffle ensued, the owner retrieved a revolver. Firing three shots, he drove the would-be robbers from his establishment. (The Republican, Waterbury, Conn., 7/1/1983) 

Jennifer Ivy had stopped at a cafe near her Chelan, Wash., home to get a soft drink to go. She hadn't driven far when a would-be rapist jumped from the back seat into the front next to her. As the thug slashed at her with a knife, she slammed on the brakes, grabbed a .22 pistol, and opened fire. The assailant beat a hasty retreat, along with two accomplices who were following in another car. Chelan County Sheriff Larry Hively said of the incident, "Having the gun in her possession seems to have saved her from considerable harm." (The Post-Intelligencer, Seattle, Wash., 5/1/1981) 

Seven burglaries in six months prompted Sweetwater, Texas, cafe proprietor Ernest Toland to keep an all-night watch after closing time. About 2 a.m. one night, five youths broke into the cafe. Toland ordered them to halt. When they refused, he fired one shot from his 16-ga. shotgun, wounding one youth slightly and causing another to surrender. The rest fled. (Reporter-News, Abilene, Texas, 6/1/1969) 

Ever since a young man with a black glove on his right hand robbed her of $150 at knifepoint, Mrs. Sue Ball, 59, a Hollenbeck, Calif., cafe proprietor, has carried an 8 mm pistol. Six months after the robbery, she said, the same man came to her rear door and grabbed at her. Her one shot killed him instantly. (Herald Examiner, Los Angeles, Calif., 11/1/1967) 

Sleeping in his Possum Grape, Ark., cafe because of recent robberies, William Marlin Willis, the owner, surprised two men attempting to rifle the restaurant cash register. One of the intruders shot at Willis, who fired back, killing the would-be bandit. The other fled. (Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tenn., 10/1/1965) 

The sound of breaking glass awakened Alfred A. Redington and his wife in their living quarters above their Denver, Colo., cafe. Armed with his 12-ga. shotgun, Redington went to a balcony overlooking the inside of the cafe in time to see a would-be robber reach through a hole broken in the front door glass, unlock the door, and enter the cafe. The cafe owner critically wounded the intruder with one blast from his shotgun. (Post, Denver, Colo., 2/1/1965) 

Richard E. Harper, armed with a shotgun, stationed himself in his father's Houston, Texas, cafe which had been burglarized several times in the past. Hearing a noise at the kitchen door in the early morning hours, he went to investigate. He found three men attempting to remove a barricade of garbage cans set up to block the door. As they tried to enter, Harper fired one blast and one of the men fell dead as the others fled. (The Chronicle, Houston, Texas, 12/1/1963)

Two burglars used a key to enter a cafe in Midland, Texas, but once inside they woke the cafe manager, Willie Haynes, who was sleeping in the kitchen. When the intruders began to run, Haynes yelled for them to stop. They didn't, and Haynes fired with a .22 rifle as they went out the door. One of the thugs was hit and his accomplice took him to a hospital where both were arrested. (American, Odessa, Texas, 8/1/1962) 

While one man held a shotgun pointed at him through the screen door of his Hamilton, Ga., cafe, another herded J.H. Roberts around the counter toward the cash. As Roberts passed his wife, she handed him a .38-cal. revolver and Roberts opened fire, felling the man in the cafe with bullets below the heart and in the arm. Roberts then turned his fire on the man outside, who drove away. Already wanted by police in connection with another holdup, he was soon picked up in his bullet-holed auto. (The Journal, Atlanta, Ga., 3/1/1962) 

In Como, Texas, proprietor Fred Brooks Jr. fired a .32-cal. pistol at a prowler in his cafe and killed him with 2 shots. The dead man was a felon on probation. (Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas, 7/1/1961)


Deputy Tyler Thoman
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