The Armed Citizen® | Music Stores

posted on February 15, 2017

Music stores are full of expensive and easily transportable equipment—and unlike in jewelry stores, for example, the merchandise typically isn’t under lock and key, making these businesses attractive targets for thieves. However, as is generally the case elsewhere, an armed citizen on the premises will almost always call the tune—forcing the hapless crook to face the music.

Alfred and Sylvia Armen were tending to their music store, Armen’s House of Music in Bethel Park, Pa., when a man who had been inside the store only minutes before returned with a club. The criminal struck 71-year-old Sylvia in the head, prompting a physical altercation between 73-year-old Alfred and the attacker. During the struggle, Alfred was able to retrieve a .38-caliber revolver and shoot the criminal, killing him. Sylvia and Alfred suffered minor injuries during the incident, but Sylvia assured local media that she is “a tough cookie.” (The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Pittsburgh, Pa., 04/28/13)

Armed robber Steve James entered Allied Music in Toledo, Ohio, inquired about a job at the store and then left. A few minutes later James returned, put a gun to a clerk’s head and ordered him into a back room. The clerk called out for help, which got the attention of store owner Eric Bilger. Bilger, a Right-to-Carry permit holder, retrieved a gun and confronted James. The two exchanged gunfire, resulting in James receiving multiple wounds, while Bilger and the clerk were unharmed. James attempted to flee the scene, but collapsed in a nearby parking lot where he remained until police arrived. After receiving medical attention, James was arraigned on a charge of aggravated robbery. This was not the first time Bilger’s store has been targeted by criminals. There were three robberies at the store in the past year. (The Toledo Blade, Toledo, Ohio, 03/12/10)

After being held up several times, a Bronx, N.Y., music store owner got a 9 mm pistol to thwart further attempts. Late one morning he buzzed a supposed customer into his store, but once inside, the man produced a pistol and demanded money. A struggle ensued, and the owner drew his own firearm, whereupon he fatally shot the bandit. (The Times Union, New York, N.Y., 10/30/97) 

Warren, Ohio, music store owner James Pugh thwarted a robbery attempt in his store late one evening. A man entered the store and acted as if he had a gun. He demanded money, but Pugh pulled his own gun, sending the would-be robber running. (The Vindicator, Youngstown, Ohio, 10/25/97)

When police in Perkasie, Pa., responded to a report of a burglary in progress, they found music store owner Harry McGonigal holding the burglar, who was facedown and spread-eagled on the floor, at gunpoint. Police lodged four charges against the hapless burglar. (The News-Herald, Perkasie, Pa., 02/05/86)

Cheryl Thom, who lives above her West Bend, Wis., music store, heard suspicious noises shortly after midnight. Armed with a shotgun, she investigated and surprised an intruder, whom she ordered to leave. He did just that. (The News, West Bend, Wis., 01/01/80)

Milton [Bud] Hunter, a Raleigh, N.C., music store employee, saw through a window two men holding up a liquor store next door. He got a revolver and started across the alley just as the holdup men, one armed with a sawed-off shotgun, ran out. One threatened to kill Hunter. He pulled his pistol and shot one of them in the leg. Police later arrested the pair and found $586, taken in the robbery, on one of them. Raleigh Police Chief Tom Davis' letter of commendation said, "We appreciate this splendid example of good citizenship and initiative." (The News and Observer, Raleigh, N.C., 04/01/67)


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