Crook with BB Gun Picks Wrong Store
Usually when you think of an armed robbery, you do so with the impression that the robber is equipped with something more than bad breath and colorful language. Well, then you have never been to Ambridge, Pennsylvania, where the crooks roll a little lighter and get what they paid for.
The pellet gun robbery
On July 16, James Hays, a 42-year old man patron of Mohs Market, a western PA convenience store, apparently decided to accomplish an armed robbery. Surveillance video shows Hays, dressed in a stained T-shirt and cargo shorts, enter the facility, walk calmly to the counter, and then produce what appears to be a handgun-- pointed at the clerk behind the counter.
The clerk, currently unidentified, reaches under the counter, produces his own handgun, and holds it gangster-style at Hays. The two then circles around the small store display area, grappling for one another with two muzzles pointing over a 360-degree arc. The clerk seems to try to prevent Hays escape from the store by barring the door and a scuffle ensues before the would-be robber ends up fleeing the scene.
Running down the road to a nearby apartment complex, police captured Hays and found out that the gun allegedly used was in fact, a pellet pistol.
Was it still a crime?
In violations of a criminal law, you must have the intent and the act to meet the definition of a crime. If someone intends to rob a business, then acts on it, and compounds their act with the addition of a weapon, odds are you had better believe it's an armed robbery. In many states there have been cases where simply alluding to having a weapon without producing it, or committing a robbery with a toy portrayed as the real thing has led to strong convictions. While we can't speak as to whether the suspect will see charges, and if charges are filed whether the state will be able to obtain a conviction, you have to admit that it doesn't look good.
Was the clerk right?
It's unknown whether the clerk knew the 'pistol' was an airgun or not. Feeling the need to defend his life, the clerk produced his own very real gun and a tense muzzle-to-muzzle standoff evolved. This is where things got dangerous. You see in the video the alleged robber reached for the clerk's gun arm, and tussled with him. If the suspect could have gotten the clerk's gun, what started as a robbery could have well ended up as a murder. One of the most important things to remember when carrying a firearm for protection is that you must never be knocked out, choked out, or punched out because if you are, your gun may no longer be your gun. Any fight in which a single gun is present is still a gunfight.
Still, way to catch the stupidest crook award. Cudos to Mohs Store for refusing to be a victim.