“Then go into the back room.” The back room.” I thought. “That’s where they herd you so they can shoot you in the back of the head.” In 2003 my youngest son and I were involved in an armed robbery. It’s been 14 years and I still remember the incident vividly. This is the story of that event. The Armed Robbers Part 3.
For the second time that night I was faced with an impossible situation. When the gunman had told me to have my son open the door to the station I had to say no. It was imperative that I take as much control of the situation as I could. Now I had to do it again. “No.” I said quite firmly. “There’s no reason in the world for us to go back there.” I didn’t raise my voice at all. Instead I used the same tone of voice every mother uses when she says, “Go clean your room.”
Both of the criminals stopped dead in their tracks. They’d already begun to move toward that room. I stood my ground and, because I did, the young lady employee stayed put. I knew Pete wouldn’t move before I said anything. The two perpetrators looked at each other, perplexed. Clearly nothing was going the way they’d envisioned it.
After what seemed like a very long pause the gunman said, “Give me your keys!” As long as they weren’t going to try to force us all into my car I knew we would be fine. “They’re still in the car.” He didn’t even tell us to walk in front of him! If the other one had followed him quickly we could have locked the door behind them. But there was something I wanted from the car.
“Please give me my purse. I have my kids’ baby pictures in it.” It wasn’t really that I had baby pictures in my purse. I had cash and credit cards in there. Before the second robber could stop him, the gunman flung my purse at me from the driver’s seat. Then I asked for my wheelchair which was in the back or at least my cane. I was in incredible pain by this point, having walked and stood without any device. The second criminal shouted, “Let’s go!” I started to ask again but Pete pulled me back. “Just let them get out of here” Pete said quietly.
I realized he was right and I could sit down inside. My much-loved car sped off into the night and the three of us went into the store. Pete called the police, the young lady collapsed in sobs on the floor, and I thanked God for saving us all that night.
The police came more quickly than I thought possible. The town police and the County Sheriff’s Department sent multiple vehicles each. An armed robbery was a huge deal in that small town. They found my car only three blocks away on a dead-end street that adjoined a park.
A canine unit was brought to the scene and we were asked if anyone of us owned a Carheart jacket. My son told them we didn’t and they used that piece of clothing to track the robbers. They’d not only left the jacket in the car but they’d left a trail leading from my car right to the apartment door of the second thug.
I’d described the masks they were wearing and Pete and the young lady gave descriptions of the rest of their clothing. I even told the police the gun was a .38 long barrel, blue steel revolver with a wooden grip.
As the canine made his way across the park he found both masks, a glove, and even the pop bottle!
The second criminal gave up the gunman instantly and the police found him at his great-aunt’s house right in my village! The gun and the box of rounds were found on his dresser. He hadn’t even tried to hide them! Each of them had half the cash stolen from the store.
Continuing the idiocy of the night the second robber told the police he’d unloaded the gun in the car after the robbery “…because I wanted to keep everyone safe.” This had the police rolling their eyes!
They’d been caught. Now would begin the grueling, months long process of bringing them to trial and sentencing.
photos courtesy of KION and the Livingston County Sheriff’s Department