Someone Once Told Me, “Work Long Enough at a Convenience Store, You’ll Eventually Get Robbed” – Yup
Earlier this morning (June 10), the Big Apple Store in Brewer on Wilson St. was robbed. It’s been a really long time, but I used to work there. While working at the store back in the mid 90s I also worked 50 feet behind the building at a radio station on Acme Rd. Thankfully I was never held up or robbed while working. I had the usual issues people who work at convenience stores have. Drunks trying to buy alcohol, pump drive offs (which is theft but not in the way I’m referring to here). I was once robbed though back in 1991.
It was a normal morning in the early spring, late winter. Shift change was at 8 am, but in order to count your drawer you needed the money in the safe. The safe was on a time lock, if I remember it took 7 minutes to open and if you missed the timer, you had to reset the safe and do it again. Well, these people who robbed me must have known at about what time shift change was. And of course I had been working all night so I wanted to have the cash ready to count right as my person in relief got to the store. So everyday I set the safe to open 10 or so minutes before Beth, the morning person was to arrive and counted the money and put it back in the safe (not locked, slightly ajar) About $600 just waiting for whoever saw me count it behind the counter.
So anyway at about 7:45, this girl came in “looking for boxes.” She diverted my attention away from the counter, when I went out back to look very quickly in the store room, I caught a glimpse of a man ransacking through merchandise behind the counter. He got the counted $600+ in cash and a boat load of cigarettes and who knows what else. After seeing him taking everything from behind the counter on the monitor, I ran out and told him to get the “eff” (real word) out of my store. Sure enough he did leave with a ton of loot.
Called the police, then I called my boss Carolyn who was on her way in, so she didn’t know anything until she saw the police inside the store. All this going on at the time Beth and Carolyn came in and they were in shock. Yeah it was a weird moment. The police took my statement. I remember the man vividly he had a huge scar on his face but she was less memorable.
Come to find out they were a pimp and his hooker. The man with the scar, the pimp, was crack addicted and HIV positive and she probably was too. Found all this out when I went down to the police station to pick them out in a line up. Bingo! The police got their guy. Too bad I was afraid to press charges at the time. I was 19 and concerned of who he and she were connected to. Pressing charges would have meant being a witness, court and I was nervous. I heard like a week or two later they hit another store and were put away for that robbery. I wish I was stronger back then and did help the cops because thinking about it as an adult with a bit more wisdom; he was just a thieving a junkie not a mobster.
I will say being robbed does distort how you view innocence of random people in your store or environment. Every person you don’t recognize who walks in to the store after you were robbed you study for their actions. Sometimes you stare long enough at people and an innocent shopper can look like they’re going to kill you. I wanted to go back to work the next night or the night after and did only because I didn’t want the event to eat at me. Like they say after you have an auto accident, get back to driving as quickly as you can.
A bit of it was stupidity on my part for having the safe slightly open and for “going to look for boxes” but it was a violation. Its weird working overnights. Your guard is up during darkness but once the sun comes up you let it down a bit. It was a bit scary, not as scary I’m sure as a gun pointed in your face or being dragged into a back room but I wouldn’t wish being robbed on anyone.