Thursday, June 25, 2009

Iowa: Clerk's gun scares off would-be robber

Des Moines, Iowa

From the Des Moines Register of June 25, 2009
Clerk's gun scares off would-be robber

Dominic Mathew had always felt it was better to give an armed robber what they asked for.

His philosophy changed after his Food Pantry store on Lower Beaver Road was held up several times, one time with a thief behind the counter and holding a gun to his neck.

He got a handgun.

On Tuesday, the third time the store was held up, he and a robber were in a face-off with their weapons.

“The guy came in from the side (of the store)” and walked in the front door, Mathew said. “That’s where they usually come from. The guy came in with a hoodie on. It was awfully warm on Tuesday, too warm for a hoodie.”

Mathew, 30, already had his gun drawn when the robber walked in, he said. The suspect lowered his gun immediately upon seeing the handgun.

The would-be robber ran out the door.

“I didn’t want to get to this point,” said Mathew. “But there have been a lot of robberies. Times are tough. A lot of people are out of work.”

Police Chief Judy Bradshaw said detectives are still investigating. She said clerks can make a situation more dangerous by adding a second gun to the equation.

“Robbers don’t want to shoot,” Bradshaw said. “They want what they came for. From a public safety perspective there are so many more possible outcomes when clerks arm themselves.”

On Tuesday three other convenience stores in the city reported thefts from cash registers. None of them were armed robberies. One man has been arrested and charged with all three incidents.

The armed robber who tried to steal from Mathew has not been caught.

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