It is almost a stereotype that a convenience store will be robbed at some point. It has become a trope of our day-to-day life.
Convenience stores themselves will sometimes have bullet-proof glass to protect employees. Additionally, they may have a cash drop into a time-delay safe to limit the amount of cash on hand.
The reason these stores are often targeted for crime range from the small number of employees on site to longer operational hours, providing more opportunities for crime.
As one young man in Texas learned, all it takes is one smart employee to thwart your plans. You never know when a hero will emerge.
John Bell entered Latino Cellular at 6710 Hillcroft Avenue in Houstan, Texas. Bell walked around a counter and demanded the employee, Karina Leon, open the register.
The owner’s wife told her to not hand over and money and Leon refused. They walked out, the customer following behind.
“It was in broad daylight, I was cashing out a customer and she had a baby. I think I was handing her her cash, then this guy walks in with a hoodie on,” Leon said.
Basit Mian, owner of Latino Cellular, said his wife locked the door, locking Bell inside. Bell had robbed the store earlier and knew where to find the money.
Finding himself locked inside, Bell made several attempts to leave. He can be seen walking off-camera, presumably looking for another exit.
He returns to fire at the door. Soon after, he finds the keys, but cannot open the door due to the damage to the door from the gunshot.
At this point he drops to his knees and begins to pray. He can be seen praying and pleading to be let out of the store.
The police arrived and apprehended him without issue. He was sentenced to five years in prison. He was already on a deferred adjudication for 12 years for a previous armed robbery.
The quick thinking of Leon helped detain a criminal and kept a lot of people safe. Knowing she helped send a man to prison does not necessarily sit easy with Leon, though.
“The opportunity was there, I had the key. He was over there. He wasn’t going to come out like that quickly.
Everything happened so fast. I kind of did feel badly. I don’t know if he has a family. I don’t know if he has kids but I have a family too. I could’ve been shot.”
When the doors locked, Bell turned to prayer and pleas. Whatever his future, I hope prayer can sustain him in prison.
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