Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login
Posted: 5/18/2001 11:49:57 AM EDT
Next week the kanadian kops will tell would be victims of rapists: "Just lay back and take it, you may enjoy the experience." [url]www.canoe.ca/EdmontonNews/es.es-05-18-0011.html[/url] Friday, May 18, 2001 Corner-store Rambos not the answer By DOUG BEAZLEY, EDMONTON SUN There are better ways of making a living, even at minimum wage. Still, when you hold the staff record for most times robbed, you can't help but feel a modest glow of pride for every month you tough it out. Maria's been toughing it out for seven years. "It's kind of a scuzzy neighbourhood," she said yesterday, getting ready to start yet another night shift behind the scarred Formica counter at a downtown gas bar. "Mostly druggies, transients, hookers and mooches. We've seen it all. People come in here covered with blood all the time. I've been robbed four times. Nothing fazes us." Nothing much - not after last week, when a would-be robber came into the shop and spritzed one of Maria's co-workers in the face with what the bandit claimed was AIDS-infected blood. That one got away empty-handed. Most who come into the shop looking for an easy score wind up disappointed. There's a metal pipe and a crowbar under the counter, for emergencies. The till's usually got $30 in it, tops, and Maria's not giving it up without an argument. "The first time I got robbed, he came in and showed me a crowbar under his jacket and said, 'Gimme the money,' " she said. "He seemed OK, no real threat, just desperate for a fix. I said I wasn't going to give him money for drugs. I gave him a pack of smokes and he left. "The last one, he had a gun. Or it looked like a real gun to me. I wasn't going to test it out. He got $65." Hardly a Brinks job, but then convenience store robberies tend to be underplanned exercises born of desperation. Since the start of the year, Edmonton's seen 50 bank robbery attempts and a whopping 175 "commercial" robberies - the vast majority of those aimed at gas stations and corner stores.
Link Posted: 5/18/2001 11:50:39 AM EDT
(continued) Most clerks, when facing an anxious man with a knife, will empty the till without a murmur. But despite repeated pleas from city police for convenience store staff to avoid acts of heroism, some can't resist the temptation to play Dirty Harry. "I wasn't even looking at him when he came into the shop. I was on the phone," said the owner-operator of a south-side corner store. He's originally from the Middle East, a neighbourhood known more for sniper attacks and car bombs than corner store raids. He'd rather not see his name in print. "The man was wearing a knithood over his face. He was bigger than me," he said. "He had a hammer and he started smashing up the lottery display, screaming, 'Give me the money!' "I froze for a few seconds. I gave him some of the money in the till, not all of it. He said, 'Give me the rest.' "I was relaxed at that point, and I thought, 'He is the weaker man, the coward. I am the stronger.' I grab the hammer from him and I say, 'I break your head!' "Why do the police say not to fight back when I am robbed? They are encouraging people to rob me, telling them that no one will put up a fight." Actually, the cops have three very good reasons for urging clerks to co-operate with armed thieves. 1. It keeps them alive. 2. Dead clerks make poor witnesses. 3. If Edmonton's corner store clerks decide en masse to start waving crowbars in the face of every bandit with a knife, the bandits are going to start coming back with guns. "If you know you're going to be resisted, maybe you're not going to hit the place pretending you've got a gun in your pocket," said Edmonton Police Service spokesman Wes Bellmore. "Maybe you're going to bring a real gun next time."
Link Posted: 5/18/2001 11:52:48 AM EDT
(continued) Actually, the cops are in a bit of a bind. They don't want to encourage random Ramboism, but they can't ignore conspicuous acts of bravery. The Edmonton Police Commission hands out civilian awards annually to people who help police to break cases and save lives. Not a few of those plaques go to people who thwart robberies. It looks like a mixed signal. Commission member Dave Ruptash insists it isn't. "We make it clear when we hand out these awards that we don't want people putting themselves at risk," he said. "But they should be recognized for their sacrifices and their efforts." "The plaques tend to go for acts of bravery in defence of the person, not property," said Bellmore. "Who's going to step in front of a knife for $60 of the 7-Eleven's money and a plaque?"
Top Top