Armed robbery in progress

Our Christmas this year was very nice, with lots of good presents, time spent with family, delicious food, and an opportunity to foil an armed robbery. Yes, an armed robbery. How do I continually get myself into these situations?

While heading back home from my stepdad’s parents’ house, I spotted a guy standing in a small field at a street corner near my parents’ house, holding what looked to be a gun. The guy was probably late teens/early adult, Caucasian, and dressed in all black. His actions looked instantly suspicious. He was pointing the gun to the ground and made some motion as if he was checking the ammo or something. He seemed pretty lost in his own world, apparently not even realizing he seemed very suspicious.

My Mom was driving, and decided to slowly drive away from home instead of toward it, and then turn around, giving us time to watch and see what was happening. We knew there was a gas station across the street and wanted to see if he was going to head in there. If so, there was a good chance we’d be witnessing a robbery.

Sure enough, he started walking across the street to the TowerMart, a gas station/convenience store. We parked the car and my Mom grabbed my phone and called 911 while my brothers and I carefully watched from behind a building, making sure we weren’t noticed. We saw the guy walking back and forth at the side of the building, looking very nervous. He was wearing long sleeves with his left hand exposed and his right hand (which was holding the gun) completely covered. As my Mom talked to the police, we continued to watch, and the guy eventually psyched himself into going into the store. He put the gun in his pocket and went in.

The store was pretty crowded, and we weren’t sure what to expect. Would people be running out screaming? Would people be locked in? Would we hear gun fire? Or would he just leave?

We never saw him actually leave, but we could only see the one side of the building. A couple minutes later, six police cars drove up, two right beside us. Two cop cars pulled up alongside us. One of them hopped out, grabbed a big ol’ semi-automatic, and approached the building, pointing the gun, ready to fire. Three other cops did the same, surrounding the building. A couple other cops went in and got people out of there, with another couple cops asking those people if they had seen anyone matching the description we gave, or saw other suspicious activity.

They spent some time going through the TowerMart and eventually came back out once they were sure he wasn’t hiding in there. It seems at some point, he had left the building. We weren’t able to see when. However, he was definitely in there. Practically everyone they talked to noticed him, as he was nervously walking in circles around the building, completely covered. He had either grown nervous with the number of people in there, or heard the sirens come. Either way, he got out of there before doing anything.

As most of the cops started to exit the building, the one who had pulled up closest to us walked up and asked what we saw. Then he said, “Oh, I talked to you before.” We all thought that was strange, since he hadn’t actually talked to us, but then he pointed out that he remembered us from the assault back in May. Good memory.

We walked with him to the field and pointed out roughly where we saw him standing. He found the footprints and was calling out the detectives to take pictures or whatever. We chit-chatted briefly before returning home. He told us we very well may have saved the store and a lot of people from experiencing a robbery on Christmas Day. I just hope the guy didn’t make another attempt elsewhere.

We found out that an hour or two later, the police were still all over that place. About an hour ago, they apparently had arrested someone not too far from here. Whether related or not, I don’t know. Given that they had video footage of the guy, testimonies and descriptions from a bunch of people in the store, and his footprints, it’s probably only a matter of time.

The rest of Christmas proceeded without police intervention. Merry Christmas!

I just wanted a hamburger

What was supposed to be a quick 10 minute trip to the nearby Carl’s Jr. for a hamburger ended up with blood, police and arrests.

I’m back home visiting my family for a few days, and my brothers and I decided to make a quick run to grab a couple hamburgers. It was about 1 AM, but we’ve done this before, hundreds of times, and never had a problem. It was pretty quiet out, and trouble is the last thing we expected.

We got our burgers and began to walk home. Across the street from the burger joint is an AM/PM. There’s an alley way right behind that that takes us to a small parking area off a street that connects to our street. It’s a nice quick shortcut, well lit, and safe enough. Usually.

As we were heading through the parking area, we heard footsteps behind us. I turned around and saw three guys, but they were a distance aways. I had a bad feeling, but thought I was being paranoid. As we continued to walk, they continued to keep their distance, until we walked onto the street in an unlit area.

One of the guys (they were all teens) pulled his shirt or jacket over his face and grabbed my food. He said, “Give me the food. Give me the food!” I held onto the bag and he pulled hard, breaking the bag in two. He took it and started to laugh. Without hesitation, my brother yelled at him to give it back, and threw his little Dixie cup of water at him. The guy turned around and started to punch him in the face.

There was blood everywhere.

This all happened so fast that I couldn’t react in time, but immediately after I saw another one of the guys start to go over to my brother as if he was about to join in the fight. I jumped between them and said, “Hey, it’s cool. Just take the food and go.” I was frightened that they would pull a knife or gun on my brother and wanted to just end it right then.

They turned around and started to leave. The guy who punched my brother said something like, “I sure was hungry!” and they laughed and continued down the street. We saw them turn onto this one fairly long street. I immediately called my parents, waking them up, as at this point I really wanted more people nearby in case those guys realized they could get our wallets instead of just our food.

I then called the police. They were here within two minutes, faster than my parents even. And not just a couple police. Two police cars sped past us, down the street those guys went (as I described to the operator on the phone), and then two police cars stopped where we were. A third came by later. And a fire truck. And an ambulance.

It turned out that they were expecting something big a block away and thought this might be it. So they sent in the cavalry. Fine by us. They took our statements, had us each identify the suspects (who they had nabbed almost immediately). I was able to positively identify one of them, though he wasn’t the attacker. My brother, however, was able to give a positive identification for the attacker. We were told he’d likely be in jail before the night is up, and maybe his accomplices as well.

So at least we got them off the street. My brother, though, is currently at the hospital getting stitches, and I’m feeling guilty as hell for talking them into coming with me for a burger. I just wanted a hamburger, and instead I got my brother a trip to the hospital, and some guys off the street. What a night.