Being a clerk or owner of a retail store tends to make you a target of criminals who are intent on making their living in a less-than-legal manner. Consequently, many such retail store employees have chosen to arm themselves in case an armed robbery does occur at their place of business.
Here are eight examples of storeowners, clerks and customers protecting themselves from armed robbers.
In the span of less than a week, two merchants in Newark, N.J., shot armed robbers, and neither of the businesspeople will face criminal charges. In one case, two armed men entered a variety store, ordered customers to get down on the ground and threated to shoot the owner if she did not give them money. One of the intruders fired one shot. The unidentified business owner responded by retrieving the handgun she keeps in the store. She shot a 23-year-old suspect in the leg. He dropped a pistol on the sidewalk outside before his 50-year-old accomplice drove him to the hospital. The two men have since been charged. Just days earlier, a grocery store owner had shot and killed an armed robber. (NJ.com, Newark, N.J., 1/16/15)
Sharon Doyle, 46, was working alone at Stan’s Health Food just after 5 p.m. when a man walked into the store and threatened her with a knife. He walked behind the counter, picked up the cash register and smashed it on the floor. As he stooped to pick up the scattered bills, Doyle reached for her revolver. The robber stood up and held his knife to Doyle’s chest, prompting her to open fire. The robber was struck once in the chest. The assailant was later taken to a local hospital, where he died of his injury. Doyle was reportedly shaken, but unharmed during the holdup. Her father commented on the incident, “I never thought it’d happen like this, but, if it had to happen, I’m glad it was this way.” (Philadelphia Daily News, Mayfair, Pa., 6/24/14)
A man armed with a gun entered a cell phone store on Chicago’s South Side and attempted to rob the establishment. The clerk on duty responded to the threat by retrieving a gun and shooting the criminal, killing him. Police have identified the deceased robber as a convict who was paroled earlier in the year. The criminal had been serving time for armed robbery with a firearm. (The Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Ill., 12/11/13)
A man in his early 30s entered Armen’s House of Music one afternoon, looked around and left. He returned just a few minutes later with a wooden club and began attacking the owner’s wife, Sylvia Armen, who was working in the store at the time. The owner, Alfred Armen, heard the commotion and ran to his wife’s aid. He tried to defend his wife and fought with the suspect before shooting him to death. Mr. and Mrs. Armen were later taken to a hospital with head injuries and are expected to recover. According to police, there was no motive behind the attack. (WTAE.com, Bethel Park, Pa., 4/27/13)
A man in his early 40s entered a nail salon at about 5:30 p.m. and began asking a female employee about purchasing diamonds. When the confused woman told the man she had no money to buy diamonds, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a pistol. When a customer getting her nails done saw what was happening, she reached into her purse and pulled out her own firearm. Upon seeing the woman’s gun, the man quickly fled the salon. It was last reported that the suspect is still at large. (Casper Star-Tribune, Casper, Wyo., 12/11/12)
A robber armed with a handgun entered a cell phone store in Houston, Texas, and attempted to rob the owner. The owner responded by retrieving a gun and firing at the criminal, striking him twice and causing him to flee to a nearby getaway car. The robber died after the getaway driver took him to a hospital in Pearland, Texas. The getaway driver is in custody. (The Houston Chronicle, Houston, Texas, 11/14/12; KTRK, Houston, Texas, 11/15/12)
An armed robber, who police believe had robbed more than 30 businesses on Virginia’s middle peninsula, entered an AutoZone in York County, Va., and attempted to rob the store. Upon recognizing the criminal who has been called the “fake beard bandit,” store employee Devin McClean retreated to the store’s bathroom, then exited the store and headed for his truck. McClean retrieved a pistol from his vehicle, reentered the store and ordered the criminal to freeze as he was terrorizing another employee. At first the bandit complied and threw his hands in the air, but then he fled the scene. Following the incident, the manager on duty told McClean, “Thank you, Devin. You really saved my life.” Unfortunately, two days after the attempted robbery, McClean was fired by AutoZone, whose corporate office cited a zero-tolerance policy when contacted by the media. Despite losing his job, McClean says he wouldn’t change anything, stating, “If I can save somebody’s life, I put that way above store policy.” (WTKR, Hampton Roads, Va., 11/30/12)
Two armed men stormed into a Dollar General store one evening and attempted to rob it. While the men held the store manager at gunpoint, a 57-year-old man carrying a concealed .45-cal. handgun, who had been shopping at the store at the time of the robbery, took action. The customer did not hesitate to draw his gun and fire at the suspects. One of the men robbing the store suffered fatal wounds to the head, chest and shoulder. The second suspect fled, but was later caught and charged with robbery and felony murder. There were reportedly no other injuries. (The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, Fla., 8/29/12)