Gun-Toting Thugs Rob Restaurant

June 11, 2010

in Odds & Ends Stories

I was the opening manager for a restaurant in downtown Washington D.C. many years ago. The restaurant was one of a chain that was very popular in the Washington area at the time. We opened at 7:00 AM for breakfast, which meant I had to get there at about 5:15 AM to open the store so we could prepare for the breakfast rush.

When I arrived at the store on this chilly March morning, several employees were already waiting to be let in. As was my custom I would lock the door behind me, being sure to lock both the middle and bottom locks on the big plate glass door. I would sit in the dining room for about 15 minutes while waiting for the remaining employees to arrive.

On this day as the last two workers came up to the door, I unlocked the middle lock and stooped down and unlocked the bottom lock. All of a sudden the door was pushed open, the two employees were literally thrown into the room and I was knocked off balance while still stooped over the bottom lock. Three young men with stocking caps on, brandishing a gun, ordered me to lock the door. I did so, and they directed us to the back of the store, down to the basement where the office was located. They rounded up the other employees already in the store and herded us all into the small office. The tallest intruder yelled at me to “open the damn safe.” The safe was located next to the wooden desk, and beside a metal file cabinet. On the side of the desk was a “panic” switch which would summon police. The thieves knew it was there, and told me not to push it, just “open the damn safe.” Well, with a gun pointed at my head, I could not remember the combination, and my hands were shaking so bad I could barely turn the dial.

After what seemed like an hour, but was only a few minutes, the door bell to the store began to ring as other employees showed up for work. The thieves were getting nervous, and the gun was looking bigger and bigger to me. I finally got the safe open, but there was less than $150 opening cash in it; the previous day’s money had been deposited the night before. What the crooks didn’t know was there was a silent panic button inside the safe, which I somehow remembered to flick. They quickly scooped up the money, and put us all in the walk-in ice box and locked it from the outside. They made their escape through the basement rear door. Within minutes, which again seemed a lot longer, Washington’s Finest opened the walk-in and let us all out. The thieves had been caught at the end of the alley behind the restaurant.

We were all shaky and cold, but not as cold as the half dozen or more employees at the front door who were waiting in the cold and had no idea what was going on.

– Jack

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Peace Lover June 12, 2010 at 1:33 pm

Holey Moley! I'm so sorry you had to go through that Jack! You only see these things on the telly but when they are happening to you it is so terrifying. Did the incident appear on the news? I hope you and youre friends recovered ok.


fuckmytable June 12, 2010 at 3:08 pm

I'm pretty sure Washington D.C. outlaws citizens with guns, but here in Texas any competent citizen who undergoes and passes a background check and firearms proficiency class may carry a firearm for self-defense. If you live in an area where this is possible, I would recommend taking your safety into your own hands.

This is exactly why I don't go to work unarmed – my restaurant has sent out too many memos warning staff about robberies as the store is opening or closing. Managers are typically the ones attacked, but servers are obviously leaving with cash on hand and are easier targets.

I'm sorry about what happened and I sincerely hope you never have to experience that again. That must have been terrifying, but you kept calm and did what needed to be done. Good job. 🙂


Jack June 12, 2010 at 4:32 pm

In Washington DC, a robbery like this one is so common I doubt it made the news.

Everyone talked about it for a few days, then it all died down. I still remember how big the gun looked.

When I worked as the night manager I would take the days receipts (sometimes over $5,000) to the bank, and place them in the night deposit box. The bank was about a city block from the restaurant. Many times at 1 or 2 in the morning I walked down 14 St in Washington to the bank. I'm happy to say I never had an incident. However, I don't think I would do that today.


The Innkeeper June 14, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Hoteliers tend to face similarly terrifying situations…I'm grateful you all went home that night. Dying over a few bucks is a dreadful concept. Great Post!


Hugh June 15, 2010 at 1:22 am

Peace Lover would most likely have offered to cook them some breakfast, get their clothes dry cleaned, fellate each of them, and then sit around, hold hands and sing kumbaya.

I agree with the Texas citizen, somewhat. I'm in PA, and my concealed weapons permit gives me some added piece of mind, and insurance. Whenever I have to venture into Philadelphia, I carry. Thankfully I have never had to use my weapon, but knowing I have it brings comfort.


Peace Lover June 24, 2010 at 1:48 pm

#Kum bay ya, my Lord, kum bay ya, "giggle"


Jack June 15, 2010 at 4:04 pm

I don’t know if having a gun would have made me any safer. I always think of “wild west” type shoot outs if everyone has a gun.

For many years I worked with my salesmen in NYC. We went into the roughest neighborhoods, the lower east-side, alphabet city, Bed-Sty in Brooklyn, the toughest parts of Queens, and I never had a problem. I did walk into a managers office in a supermarket when a big drug deal was going down. There were guns, and two large bags of “something” lying on the desk, and a look of astonishment on the managers face. He wondered how I got by the guard he had posted outside his office. I knew the guy for about a year, and had no idea what he was into. He asked me to wait outside, which I gladly did. When his “friends” left, he called me in, and said “I trust you will forget what you just saw”. I agreed readily , we then discussed our mutual business. I was never so happy to leave. I saw him at least a dozen more times, we never mentioned what I had walked in on.


Hugh June 16, 2010 at 1:25 am

I view it as an insurance policy you hope you never need to use. I know that if the other guy has a gun, I feel MUCH better if I have one as well, the playing field is levelled. I think if more citizens had guns, crime would go down (statistics bear this out). They would be forced to think twice before walking into a convenience store to rob it, knowing that there would be a distinct possibility that the clerk and/or other customers would be armed. Look at the Virginia Tech shooting a few years ago…if a few of the other students, or faculty, or security guards were armed, they might have been able to take out the shooter and perhaps have saved some innocent lives.


fuckmytable June 18, 2010 at 9:21 pm

Hugh is right. Statistics prove that when normal citizens have guns, crime rate goes down. If a criminal knows that their victim might have the means to fight back, they won't think it's worth the risk. Look at states where concealed (and open) carry is allowed — have there been any wild west shootouts? Nope. 🙂


Harold June 19, 2010 at 5:04 am

There have been academic studies concluding that the fear of citizens possessing guns prevents crimes as you mention. Professor John Lott from the University of Chicago performed one of those studies: An interview with John R. Lott, Jr.


Jack June 19, 2010 at 1:15 pm

People don't kill people, nuts with guns do!


Waldi September 29, 2010 at 2:11 pm

I'm glad I have my license to carry my "piece" and certainly would use it in all states where it's legal.


College Kid November 3, 2010 at 10:35 am

fake but entertaining, thanks jack


BRAH November 16, 2010 at 10:37 am





Jack November 16, 2010 at 2:43 pm

It wasn't a Kodak moment, moron!


Troy December 12, 2010 at 6:43 am

You neurotic numb nuts. If having alot of guns were synonymous with civil safety then America would be the safest country in the developed world. But as you yourselves know, its not. As you Americans like to say – 'You do the math'.


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