Greencastle, Pennsylvania

From Chambersburg’s PublicOpinionOnline.com of May 5, 2007

Our view: Purchase of gun ends thefts at area store

Merlony Colaco got robbed one too many times, and instead of shrugging and moving on, he did something about it.

The Greencastle merchant was mad and not going to take it anymore, so he bought a shotgun and caught a woman he didn’t know inside his convenience store.

He also put the kibosh on what police call a recent string of local smash-and-grab robberies.

After his store, the Molly Pitcher Mini Mart, was broken into for the second time, Colaco picked up a shotgun and set up an after-hours stakeout.

In late March, his waiting reaped results when a brick sailed through his store window. Police said Erica Marie Lynch allegedly broke into the store to steal cigarettes for crack money.

Colaco was ready and police said he held her at bay until they arrived.
Thankfully, cool heads prevailed and no one was hurt.

Colaco refused to play the victim. He used his Second Amendment rights to buy a firearm and defend his property, and he did it with common sense.

Things could have turned ugly very easily in the moments before police arrived. Take a twitch, throw in a sarcastic remark, and add in the fact that perhaps Colaco had a bad day, and the result could have been needless bloodshed.

And the Greencastle store owner could have been left with a very serious legal problem.

Law enforcement apparently agreed — Colaco said they told Lynch, “You’re lucky he didn’t shoot you.”

Lynch was charged with two counts of burglary and theft by unlawful taking. Her alleged accomplices received similar charges. Police believe the three hit other spots in Pennsylvania and Maryland.

All three are awaiting a preliminary hearing May 22 in Franklin County Court.

If the trio are found guilty, it’s because Colaco took a leading role in bringing them to justice.

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