March 8, 1998 in City

Fast-Food Folks Frustrate Felony Two Employees Thwart Man’s Attempt To Help Himself To Till

Luke Timmerman Staff writer
 

Employees at a north Spokane Burger King refused to let a thief have it his way.

A man who ordered a shake and fries and all the cash in the register Friday night quickly found himself being held by the throat by employees.

Shortly after 9 p.m., the thief stepped out of his Chevy Blazer and grabbed a female cashier around the waist through the drive-through window. With his other hand he snatched cash from the till, police said.

But before the man could escape, a manager and cook at the Newport Highway restaurant jumped in to hold the man against the window and recover the loot.

Several customers inside the restaurant and one waiting in the drive-through lane witnessed the struggle.

“He was just yelling, ‘Let go of me!’ I think he was kind of scared,” said operations manager Shawn Duty. “I don’t think he realized it would be so tough.”

An employee pushed a silent alarm to alert police, and the cook ran outside and pulled the thief’s keys from the ignition.

Moments later, the man broke free. He somehow managed to start his car and drive away.

Police were still searching for the suspect Saturday. He is described as white, in his late 30s or early 40s, between 5 feet 6 and 5 feet 9, about 130 pounds, with brown hair.

Other than a shaken cashier, the only damage was a torn $20 bill.

“I’m proud to a degree, but I’m also a little scared,” owner Scott Hatter said. “We preach that you never want to be the hero, that you push the panic button and do whatever the person asks.”

The night manager decided to stop the thief because he was smaller and there was no weapon in sight, Hatter said.

Hatter and his father own 14 Burger Kings in Spokane County and North Idaho. This was only the second robbery at the restaurants in six years, he said.

Police collected fingerprints from the cash register, a set of six keys, a dollar bill the thief dropped, and an envelope the man had taped over his rear license plate.

There was less than $100 in the till at the time of the robbery, Duty said.

, DataTimes


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