Indianapolis, Indiana

From TheIndyChannel.com of November 11, 2007

Employees, Customer Tangle With Armed Robber

AutoZone Employees Wrestle Armed Man In Struggle

An armed robber was hospitalized after three would-be victims decided to fight back, Indianapolis Metro police said.

Investigators said while they would not recommend what two employees and one customer of an Indianapolis AutoZone store did, they called the actions very brave, 6News’ Tanya Spencer reported.

Police said the employees who were working Sunday morning got suspicious as soon as Michael Jones, 41, walked in to the store, in the 6100 block of East 46th Street, on the city’s northeast side.

“He was wearing a black hat and a hoodie, so the employees got kind of suspicious when he walked in dressed the way he was,” said IMPD Detective Leon Benjamin.

Police said Jones pretended to shop, waiting for all customers to leave, then went to the counter and asked how much brake pads would cost for an older-model Cadillac.

“The clerk … turned around to check the pricing on the computer. When he turned back around, the suspect had a gun pointed directly at his head,” Benjamin said.

The clerk then made a split-second, what some would call crazy decision, grabbing the gun and wrestling with the attacker.

A second employee jumped in to help, fighting the attacker out the door of the business and to the ground.

“When they fell to the ground, the gun was knocked loose from the suspect,” Benjamin said.

The only customer in the store at the time grabbed the gun and called police, and the two employees held the man down until police arrived.

Police said the second employee only has one arm.

“His other arm is actually a hook, and he was able to use that hook … as a weapon in subduing the suspect,” Benjamin said.

Police normally suggest victims do what a robber said. In this case, the clerk’s reaction paid off.

Police said Jones had previously been incarcerated twice in robbery cases, and that he told a detective that he owed some money and needed quick cash.

Jones and the first employee during the struggle were taken to hospitals to be treated for cuts and abrasions but neither was seriously hurt.

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