The happenings of an armed robbery through my eyes.
| We've all watched the news with armed robberies and made comments like, "If that were me," and "I dare someone to try..." and "What I'd do if I were...". I happened to have said, "I dare someone to try to rob my store. We've an armed guard at the front door, live audio and visual surveillance." to my mother three weeks prior to that night.
February 26, 2005 8:53pm
I turned due to the sound of what I recognized as being a body hitting the floor. The dull "thud" of something soft like a body against something hard like tile. Glancing at my two guests while turning, I expected to see our guard hitting the floor from a heart attack. The observation of two men masked with guns, flooding into the store was met with a sudden serious calm to pay attention and not to panic. I turned back to my guest while hearing her begin to cry and with nothing other than a look that had to have said, "Shut the fuck up." did she immediately go silent and still.
When you've been a jeweler for as long as I have, you have learned in that time to read people. With just watching people, I can tell you what couples will last and those who won't. I can tell those who love each other, truly, and those who don't. I've deciphered what the woman likes. I've noted the girl's personality and what the guy is worried about. Things that most people learn after asking questions, I learn just by watching.
"Hands up hoes!" barked the masked man closest to me. All ten people in the room complied without a word.
"Open the cases!"
"We want everything!"
The cases flew open. Elements were pulled in wholes, straight on top of the counter, and immediately dumped into big, black, HEFTY trash bags.
"Hurry up bitches!"
"Where's the safe?!"
"Where's the girl in the brown?"
"Who pushed the button?"
"You're not going fast enough!"
"What am I going to have to do? Start shooting people?"
"What the fuck is that?"
"What the fuck is that noise?"
Our silent alarm. My heart instantly filled with dread. In this store, it was not so silent. The tell-tale beeps, discreet however prominent rang through the air. I had no answer. The outspoken, independent, quick witted person that I am, was horrifyingly speechless.
One of my less vocalized fears was that in moments of such great stress and worry, it is a fault of mine, that I grow unable to make a sound. I'm struck dumb. I know this only because of being scared during other points in my life. Purposely trying to scream, to even whisper and being unable to.
"That's our closing bell! It happens every night to let everyone know we're closing! It happens every night." the heavenly response came from (Mandy) the person in charge.
"Ya'll aren't going fast enough."
"I want it all."
were the demands and orders from the man without a face.
You guys aren't going fast enough. my mind raced.
There's nothing else to pull.
You've got everything.
Someone's going to get shot because you guys aren't going fast enough.
You are not pulling fast enough.
were my thoughts towards my co workers and the gun men.
With nothing else left to pull, I stood, looking around to see what else I could possibly give to appease the man closest to me.
"I'm going to have to start shooting people," the gunman seemed to have decided out loud, and proceeded to grab me by my hair placing the gun at first to my temple.
You aren't going fast enough. The realization hit me suddenly, as he pressed the gun more firmly against my head. He began to drag me across the store with him, around stools, cases, and people, through doors out into the open aisle of the store.
What if I trip? I thought to myself.
Step firmly and carefully. my thoughts commanded, and as calmly as I could, I followed the man wherever he would lead.
Ok, if I can somehow pretend to trip, I can fall on him and break his nose before I take his gun from him.
Where's the other guy?
I can't see the other guy.
If I can't get his gun before the other guy knows that I have it, things could be bad.
I can't control the other guy.
Get him to let go.
If he shoots me, will I feel it?
Will I hear it?
Will I feel it before I hear it?
Will I hit the ground and know I've been shot?
Will (Sarah) be hit? the girl standing behind me.
Which is worse? Being shot or being the person standing behind the person being shot?
My glasses fell from my face somewhere between the swinging doors of the cases and the customer service desk, leaving me with my second fear. Not being able to see clearly in a dangerous situation. At that moment, I remembered the two year old girl and her mother somewhere in the store. Stay quiet, baby. My heart pleaded.
"Where's the rest of the money?"
"Yo, we've got to go."
"We've been here too long already."
"I want the fucking money!"
He released his hold on my hair and I slowly stood up and stepped away from him. Distance. I wanted lots of distance. I walked directly to (Jennifer) and took the remaining amounts of money from her and thought to hand it to the gun man and suddenly knew I didn't have the will to willingly walk back to him. I handed the money to (Mandy) who handed it to the gun man.
"That's it. That's all of it." (Mandy) pleaded, nearly in tears. "There's nothing left."
"Everyone on the ground." For the only time during that situation, I hesitated. The last place I want to be is on the ground. I've been taught that my whole pro gun life. I slid to the floor. I'll have to take that chance.
"If we get out in the parking lot, and there are cops out there, I have no choice but to come back in here and shoot two people. Then to proceed to shoot one person every thirty minutes until our demands are met."
I laid there in the floor with my face to the ground for approximately three minutes. I turned to see my guests, and quietly said, "And I'm pro gun." with a small smile of encouragement. I got up, looking for my glasses. I'm renewing my perscription for contacts.
February 26, 2005 8:57pm
Still speechless, I looked around to see the dregs of what was left. What next? "Well, there's work to do." I had said, to myself more than anyone else.
I remembered the little girl and her mother, and walked over to the couch, the mother had ingeniusly grabbed the girl and hid behind. Something told me to take the girl.
"Come here baby." I said, picking the girl up and cradling her against me. I watched her mom crumble, seconds after she looked up to know her daughter was safe. "It's going to be okay." I cooned to the girl, turning to see a tall man coming through the doors looking terrified.
"I believe this little girl is yours." I said, handing the girl to her dad, watching relief flood his face. I motioned to his wife, in the floor, noting his next question forming.
I need to call my mom and dad. What do I say? Nobody deserves to get that news on the phone. I'll tell them when I get home.
"Hey, it's me." I announced into the phone, looking around almost lost. "I'm going to be late getting home. There's alot of paper work to do." I told my dad.
"What time do you think you'll be home?" he asked, unknowing. I looked around, not even beginning to imagine how long it would take.
"I don't know. There's a mess here. It'll be late. But I want all of you up when I get there." I had decided to say.
"What's up? Everything ok?" he gruffly asked. Direct, no frills, and blunt. That was my dad's way. I had never been more glad hear his voice.
"Every thing is fine. I've just got something to tell you guys and I want everyone up when I get home." I forced, hoping to sound calm and indifferent.
"Ok. I'll tell them." he said.
In four minutes and twenty seven seconds, two men cleaned out my store for 2.5 million dollars worth of diamonds and cash, left me with clumps of hair and blood falling from my head and two distinct bruises to my forehead and temple from the barrel of a semi automatic hand gun. It's mind blowing how much life you can live in five minutes.
()names have been changed to protect those individuals there that evening other than myself.