Owners Thwart Armed Robbery... When They Remove the Mask an All Too Familiar Face Appears
Employees at a pizza shop in a small town in central Massachusetts were going about their business Tuesday evening when a masked man holding what appeared to be a handgun entered the store, hopped the front counter and demanded all of the store’s cash.
But according to WCVB, the employees of Northeast Pizza in Barre would have none of it, and fought back against the would-be robber and wrestled him to the ground in the lobby. They then held him pinned until police arrived to take the man into custody.
At some point during the scuffle, the employees became aware that they were quite familiar with the robber who turned out to be armed with a fake gun. He was later revealed to be a former manager of the store, Sean Coulson.
WHDH reported that the entire incident was captured on the store’s surveillance cameras. Coulson has been charged with multiple crimes including armed robbery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace.
“He jumped over the counter and had the gun pointed at my friend’s head while choking him against the wall,” recounted employee Trevor Kosla, who recognized his former manager during the struggle and was the one who ended up sitting on top of the attempted robber for several minutes until the police arrived.
“He kept yelling at me to stop, that it was a joke,” Kosla said. “I said, ‘I don’t care who you are, this is not a joke.’”
According to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, store owner Steve Barrett said he was proud of his employees, who he considered to be heroes, and revealed that Coulson — who lived right across the street from the pizza shop — had been fired from his manager position last year.
Sgt. William Recos of the Barre police agreed that the employees had exhibited bravery in fighting off the would-be robber, even as he reminded people that the police don’t recommend citizens fight with robbers over property. “We don’t want people putting their lives at risk,” he said.
Once Coulson’s attempted robbery was thwarted by his former co-workers, he attempted to explain to both them and the police that he wasn’t really trying to rob the store, but was instead just playing a joke on them.
Obviously, the employees and police saw things quite a bit differently and weren’t buying the “joke” excuse.
“He jumped over the counter and demanded money,” stated Recos. “We don’t think that was a joke.”
Coulson is expected to appear in Western Worcester District Court for a hearing on Feb. 5 that will determine whether he poses a threat to the community or is safe to release on bail.
You can watch the incident unfold right here, with compelling play-by-play commentary from Kosla over much of the footage:
This former manager of a pizza shop thought he could rob the place of their earnings for the night, but the employees he used to work with weren’t about to let that happen on their shift, and instead served up an order of instant justice.
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