Liquor Store Clerk Holds Shoplifter at Gunpoint

TOPEKA, Kan. - A store clerk is earning praise from some in the community for holding a would-be shoplifter at gunpoint until police arrived.

CJ said she became suspicious when two men in their 20's came into the store shortly before 7p.m. Tuesday, and headed straight for a corner of the store and talked about not having much money.

"They realized I was watching them the entire time they were in here," said CJ, who did not want to give her last name. "They went and picked up a half gallon of Kentucky Deluxe."

CJ said the two brought the bottle up to the counter and she rang it up. One of the men took off his shoe, looking for money. "His buddy was standing by him and grabbed the bottle and bolted out the door," CJ said.

CJ said she had another customer in line lock the door. She grabbed the phone and her gun and called police. CJ said the man seemed surprised when she held him at gunpoint. "He looked dumbfounded. I don't think he realized I would be carrying a gun."

CJ said the two men had a vehicle on the west side of the store, which is where the first ran after taking the bottle. She said the man she held inside the store was cooperative with police.

"One got away; I wasn't gonna let the other get away. He went to jail instead."

Officials say CJ did nothing illegal. "The supervisor that worked the scene out there felt that she was justified and within the confines of the law," said Capt. Jerry Stanley, Topeka Police Department.

Stanley said it's important for people with conceal and carry permits like CJ, know when to expose the weapon.

"In this case we're looking at under $20 worth of merchandise and a loaded firearm pointed at a person," said Stanley. "Want to make sure they're properly trained and have proper judgment."

CJ said a gun may not be for everyone, but people with jobs like her's should take precautions to protect themselves. "Take self-defense classes. Go through the training. Go through conceal and carry classes if you choose to carry a gun. Learn how to use it. Learn when to use it," CJ advises. "Just be safe."

CJ received her conceal and carry license in July 2007 and says she carries it with her at all times. "We have to protect what's ours and not let them walk all over the top of us. Next time they might not be so lucky to walk out."

Police and CJ agree the situation had a positive outcome. "This situation definitely worked its way out and came to a positive conclusion," said Capt. Stanley.

"If it happens again, hopefully, it turns out like it did last night and the guy goes to jail instead of going to the morgue," said CJ. "The police officers can't be everywhere at the same time and it's up to the community to help them do their job, and that's putting the bad guys in jail."


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