|October 29, 2002, 10:13 AM||#1|
Join Date: October 25, 2000
Location: Moscow on the Colorado, TX
(PA) Man foils robbery attempt with his handgun
Man foils robbery attempt with his handgun
A Bensalem truck driver stopped an apparent armed robbery at a convenience store, police said.
By GEORGE MATTAR
When two teens walked up to a Bensalem 7-Eleven early Saturday morning, Jim Smith immediately thought they were trouble.
So did the store's co-owner, Smith said.
"I don't like the looks of this guy," Smith recalled the co-owner saying as they chatted at 2:49 a.m. inside convenience store in the 1600 block of Street Road.
Minutes later, Smith, 39, of Bensalem, was pointing his gun at the chest of one of the teens. Then he had it aimed at the other. The teens, police said, were preparing to rob the store.
"His actions prevented a robbery," said Director of Public Safety Steve Moran. "But one got hurt and two people are in custody."
Smith, who has been licensed to carry a firearm since 1990, tells the story this way:
It was raining when the store's co-owner went outside to see what the teens wanted.
"We're just trying to get out of the rain," one responded.
The storeowner said, "I hope you aren't doing something stupid like planning to rob my store."
"Oh, no, we're cool," Smith recalled the two answering.
Then one came inside and looked nervously around the store. That's when Smith said he saw what he thought was a gun.
Smith, a truck driver, had his own licensed .45-caliber handgun in a holster strapped to his side. A member of the National Rifle Association, Smith had worked as an armed guard at a bank.
"I'm thinking to myself and my mind is racing. If it is a gun you don't want to overreact. You can get in trouble. I was torn. I wanted to be in control of the situation, but didn't want to overreact," Smith said yesterday.
When he was about eight feet away from the teen, he decided to draw his weapon, he recalled.
"I had my gun pointed in the center of his chest and said, 'Get your hands away from the gun. If you put your hands on the gun, you're going to get shot.' I came real close and took slack out of the trigger. He came very close to getting shot," Smith said.
It's just a BB gun, the suspect told Smith.
"It looked real enough to me," said Smith, who was later told by police that the weapon was a pellet gun.
But Smith's gun didn't scare the teen, Smith said. He started arguing with Smith and the store co-owner, he said. "He just wouldn't listen. The co-owner and his father came over and grabbed the kid and the gun hit the floor."
The co-owner's father kicked the gun down an aisle, away from the suspect. They then wrestled him to the ground and another customer called police.
Meanwhile, the other juvenile still was standing outside. Smith didn't know if he was armed, so he went outside and pointed his gun at him and told him to lie down. The second teen also resisted, Smith said, but the police arrived then and took control of the situation.
Both juveniles, ages 15 and 16, of Bensalem, were taken to the Bucks County Juvenile Detention Center and charged with attempted robbery, criminal conspiracy, possession of an instrument of crime and disorderly conduct. One of them also was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, a marijuana smoking device, police said.
Smith said he carries a gun not only for his own protection, but also to protect others. He said he avoids drawing his weapon at all costs, but believed the storeowner was going to be robbed.
"Parents have got to realize when they buy these pellet guns for kids that they look like real weapons. In fact, a properly operating pellet gun can kill you," he said.
"That a free citizen should have to go before a committee, hat in hand, and pray for permission to bear arms - fantastic! Arm your daughter, sir, and pay no attention to petty bureaucrats." Robert Heinlein - Red Planet