It is an unfortunate fact of life that some people in this world seem to lack any sort of compassion or empathy for their fellow human beings and will exploit a tragic situation to take full advantage for themselves.
That appears to be the case of two teens in Washington state who were caught on surveillance camera footage robbing a convenience store gas station after the clerk suffered a heart attack, according to KOMO-TV in Seattle.
The clerk has been identified as Zarif Kelada, and he is currently on life support at a local hospital as his family, friends and co-workers are praying for his recovery. Police believe they have identified the two teens who robbed the store, but they have yet to be taken into custody and it remains unclear if they will be charged with any crimes.
According to Fox News, the incident occurred Saturday in the city of Auburn, about 27 miles south of Seattle. Surveillance cameras caught the teens ignoring the clerk after he collapsed, instead taking advantage of the opportunity to rob the store.
The two teens walked into the store along with an older adult male, who police now say was not associated with the teens and was uninvolved in the incident, though he also ignored the collapsed clerk and simply exited the store.
The incident began when one of the teens started eating a pepperoni stick without paying for it, and gave a second pepperoni stick to his friend. As the adult attempted to make a separate purchase, the clerk began to argue with the teens about the pepperoni sticks, coming around the counter to confront the teens, one of whom offered him a solitary dollar for the items.
Moments later, the clerk appeared to pass out and crashed face-first into a display rack, collapsing on the floor. The two teens initially broke for the door, but paused and returned as the adult male stood by for a moment prior to leaving.
One of the teens immediately retrieved his dollar bill from the hand of the unconscious clerk and then hopped the counter to steal some cigarettes as the other teen left the store as well, joined shortly thereafter by his cigarette-snatching friend.
That teen returned to the store moments later and purposefully stepped over the collapsed clerk to go behind the counter again, momentarily fiddling unsuccessfully with the cash register prior to stealing more cigarettes and then hopping over the clerk to leave the store again.
But he wasn’t finished yet.
Both teens returned moments later and the friend was able to open the register, grabbing a reported $178 in cash before exiting the store for good, again leaving the man suffering a medical emergency lying helpless on the floor.
“It’s absolutely heartbreaking,” store manager Angela Sharapova told KOMO of the incident. “And we’re just all kind of coping with it — hoping that our guy’s going to make it.”
The owner of a food truck parked nearby noticed the teens coming and going and attempted to contact the store’s owner while other customers called 911 and attempted to give CPR to the clerk.
“I don’t think that’s right, you know?” the food truck owner said of the teens’ actions. “If you see someone like that, you know, you try to do as much help as you can.”
A GoFundMe fundraising account has been set up on behalf of Kelada by his co-workers for help with his medical bills, and within a day it raised more than twice as much as the initial goal of $10,000.
As for the thieving teens, we can only hope they are eventually taken into custody and held accountable for their crimes. Unfortunately, there is little that can be done to make up for their extreme callousness toward their fellow human beings, displayed so uncaringly as they ignored the clerk suffering a medical emergency to instead stuff their pockets with stolen goods and money.
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