Calgary liquor store manager calms knife-wielding teen during attempted robbery
Published Friday, December 8, 2017 9:03AM EST
A Calgary liquor store manager thwarted a potential violent robbery recently with some quick thinking and calm words that convinced a teenaged suspect to wait quietly until police arrived.
The entire incident is captured on the store’s surveillance video.
Praveen Chandrasekaran was working the register at Everest Wine and Spirits Saturday, Dec. 2 when he noticed a young man enter the store he thought he recognized from a previous incident. Chandrasekaran remotely locked the store’s doors and asked the man for identification.
The two got into a scuffle before the suspect grabbed a liquor bottle and attempted to run out of the store. He was unable to get out. Chandrasekaran initially fled to a back room after noticing a folded knife in the suspect’s hand, which is visible in the video.
“When I looked at the knife, I was like ‘OK, OK. This is not a time for chivalry, right?’” said Chandrasekaran. “That’s why I just moved. When I looked at it, I did get scared first. I thought that he can do anything. He was nervous so he can do anything.”
Chandrasekaran says the suspect’s friends were on the other side of the door trying to open it. The frustrated young man smashed a cellphone on the ground and pleaded to be let out of the store. Chandrasekaran came back to speak to the teen.
“I just told him I can’t do anything because it was locked. I told him to calm down. No need to get angry. Just wait.”
He told him everything had been captured on security video. The store manager then gestured to a small crowd that had gathered outside the entrance and told the suspect that he could be in danger if he left the store. He convinced the teenager to wait in the store’s bathroom until police arrived.
“I just told this guy, in the right way, I will keep you in a safe place.”
Chandrasekaran stands by his decision to lock himself in the store with the suspected thief while not resorting to violence.
“Once we encourage this kind of stuff, he’ll tell it to his buddy and it will keep on continuing,” said Chandrasekaran. “If we fight with them, we’re going to (get) hurt.”
Officers arrived quickly and arrested the 16-year-old in the store’s bathroom without incident. He has been charged with robbery.
The Calgary Police Service would not comment directly on Chandrasekaran’s actions but they say workers should not put themselves in harm’s way. They say staff should let a thief go and then call police.
With a report from CTV’s Shaun Frenette