Dumb Criminal Left on Knees Praying for Release after Attempted Robbery Backfires


Imagine yourself working as a cashier. An armed robber walks into the store demanding you open the register.

Most of us would likely comply with the robber’s demands, which is often advised. Latino Cell clerk Karina Leon found herself in a similar position, but didn’t obey the robber’s command to open the register.

Instead, Leon calmly told the robber, “No.” John Bell had walked inside the Houston store on April 17, 2017 at 11:50 a.m.

Leon was handing back change to a customer who had a baby in a stroller with her. That’s when Bell approached her.

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He demanded, “Open the register. Open it now.” The owner’s wife was present and told Leon not to open it.

Bell ran to the back of the store toward the office.

The next few seconds were crucial for Leon, the owner’s wife, and the customer with a baby to escape.

Surveillance video footage showed Leon gently guiding the customer pushing the stroller out of the store.

Fortunately, Leon was wearing a lanyard with the store keys attached.

Leon told KTRK, “As soon as he went into the office I just immediately got out and got the customer out. I just locked him outside because whenever you lock the door outside, from the inside you can’t open it so I knew he wasn’t going to be able to open it.”

Bell soon realized his attempted robbery backfired. He was locked in the store.

Bell shot at the door lock several times, but it wouldn’t break. The video showed the criminal alternate between anxious pacing and moments of rage where he would hit or kick the door.

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Only a miracle would get him out of the store before police arrived. He needed to get down on his knees and pray to be released from the locked store, and that’s almost exactly what he tried doing.

Bell was kneeling with folded hands pleading with the people outside to let him out. When police arrived, he put his hands up and was arrested.

Bell pleaded guilty to the crime. A week before Christmas, he was sentenced to five years in prison.

Leon described herself as a “really scared and shy person.” Though the incident was scary, she found her voice and courage within herself.

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Carolyn Fultz is a former contributor for Liftable Media. She holds a B.A. in Communication from Hope College.
Carolyn Fultz is a former contributor for Liftable Media. She holds a B.A. in Communication from Hope College. Carolyn's writing has been featured in both online and print media, including Just Between Us magazine. She resides in Phoenix with her husband and children.
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