No shit, there I was. April 5th 1998. Four days before my 18th birthday. It was a late Sunday night at Papa Murphy’s pizza. About 10:20pm to be more precise. Me and Richelle were finishing up some extra cleaning in the store when some dude walks in the back door. At first glance I thought it was a co-worker or friend of ours that was being funny walking in the back door. I was standing right in the middle of the store and she was towards the back door. He was yelling at us to get on the floor while pointing something at us. Still thinking it was someone we knew, it took me a minute to realize what was happening. He was wearing pantyhose as a mask. Once Richelle got on the floor I decided it was probably best to rethink what was going on here. He tied her hands behind her back then checked the rest of the back room for anyone else. He ripped the phone cords out of the walls and quickly spotted the safe. I immediately started pleading with him that I did not know the safe combo and had no way to open it. Of course he was nervous and did not want to hear what I had to say. He proceeded to tie my hand up behind my back as I lay face down on the floor. Whatever I was doing with my hands, he didn’t like because he couldn’t get the zip-ties secure enough. He told me to put my hands out in front of me and he tied them up palm to palm. (Ultimately this is what allowed me to escape)
He drug me over to the safe and of course wanted me to open it. Being that it was a drop-in safe, without the combo nothing was happening. It weighed a few hundred pounds so ripping it out wasn’t really an option for him. He took my keys out of my pocket which obviously didn’t do anything. He proceeded to kick a hole in the office door, which was right next to the front register/safe. As he crawled into the office, I managed to jump up and hit the panic button I which had always given us grief with false alarms. Phew! I thought! He rummaged through the office, took the video tape out of the VCR and started to crawl out again. I managed to jump up one last time just in case to hit the panic button. He came back out and held his knife to my neck. All I could do was tell him I didn’t have the combo! Was this guy stupid? Why would I protect this money? We had the entire weekends worth of cash in there so it was pretty significant. It’s not worth getting my neck cut over!
He got on his knees right ahead of me and proceeded to wail on the side of my head. To this day I have a pretty significant numb area where I got cracked. I can’t really count the number of times I was hit but as I started to black out I remember trying to yell ‘I don’t have the combo!’
He sat down on the floor and put his knife to his side just as I was coming to. He started to reach in his bag saying ‘time to start cutting you up.’ Richelle was still tied up in the back. I decided I wasn’t going to go out like this; getting robbed and beat up by some piece of shit like this. I thrust myself up with my hands still tied and ran to the back door. I jumped over Richelle and as I was opening the door, the zip-ties broke off my hands. (Adrenaline I guess)
I ran across the street to a Taco Bell, which seemed to be the only place that was still open. I tried to stop cars on the road to get attention but of course no one stopped. Once I made it into Taco Bell, I was pretty tore up and upset. The reason I was so upset is because I realized I left Richelle there. What was he possibly doing to her? Since I figured he was still in there, the police assumed it may end up being a hostage situation. They ended up dragging her out through the drive-through window before learning that he actually had chased out after me when I ran out.
After going to the police department to get all the statement stuff taken care of, we went back to the store so I could describe what had happened. Since we had just cleaned the floor before this happened, the powder that the detectives put on the floor showed a peculiar picture of what had happened, including the three feet or so I had moved from being pounded in the head.
Things were different a few weeks later when I decided to go back to work. Talk about being on edge! I’ve gotten over it though over the years. I understand why people like him do these things. Desperation comes in many forms. We just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. I used to run through different scenarios to handle the situation. I could have grabbed the cheese knife and possibly lopped off his head, or I could have simply tried to run the first time he crawled in the office. I don’t think anyone really knows what they would actually do in this kind of situation until they experience it themselves.
This is a good starting point for some good stories in my life. I’m sure I’ll be able to tie in some morals someday. Maybe during my 365 days of blogging this year ill have some introspect about this and what it may really mean.
Forgot to add this… The panic button that I was able to hit a few times, had been disconnected several days before. The owners were tired of false alarms.