Corrections officer invents defense tool for convenience stores


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Drizzt
February 26, 2003, 04:23 PM
Corrections officer invents defense tool for convenience stores

Stun gun-like dart could deter robberies, he says

By James Dean
FLORIDA TODAY

COCOA -- A man wearing a ski mask walks into a convenience store and approaches the clerk. Pulling a handgun from a baggy sweatshirt, he demands money from the cash register and threatens to kill the clerk if he doesn't cooperate.

If Cocoa resident Gregory Mitchner had his way, the clerk would then press a button with his hand or foot, launching an electrically charged dart from a box beneath the register. Working like a stun gun, the dart would incapacitate the robber for several minutes while law enforcement responded or the clerk fled to safety.

"This gives them a chance to save their own lives," said Mitchner, 45, an auxiliary corrections officer at the Brevard County Detention Center in Sharpes.

The Counter Guard is Mitchner's invention. Troubled by all the robberies he saw reported in the news and by stories he heard from robbers at the jail, Mitchner became interested in making a device that protected the convenience and retail store employees that are so often victimized.

One of every five convenience stores experiences a robbery in a typical year, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores. While many stores are never robbed, such crimes have been increasing, according to FBI statistics. In 2000, convenience store robberies increased nearly 10 percent and gas station robberies rose almost eight percent.

Mitchner's idea comes after robbers struck at least 17 businesses in the Titusville area in recent months. Titusville police have arrested five young men so far in connection with the robberies, and are working with business owners and employees to promote sound security procedures.

Hitesh Patel, who found himself threatened at gunpoint Monday night, said a Counter Guard would have come in handy.

"It's a good idea," said Patel, owner of Knox McRae Food Store at 355 Knox McRae Drive in Titusville. He saw the male robber approaching the store, but said the whole thing was over in seconds.

The man then fled the store with an unknown amount of money, police said.

A patent is pending on the Counter Guard, and Mitchner is looking for a manufacturer to develop the product.

But law enforcement, security experts and some business owners cautioned against taking any action that offers resistance to an armed robber.

"The key thing to train employees and managers in retail or convenience stores is not to resist or have weapons," said Rosemary Erickson, president of San Deigo-based Athena Research, which studies retail crime.

Erickson said less than 10 percent of store robberies result in injury, and less than one percent result in death. But victims who resist armed robbers are almost 50 times more likely to be killed, she said, citing a 1986 study.

That has not happened in Titusville, though several people were beaten in attacks that became progressively violent.

One woman had teeth knocked out, and a man was cut with a liquor bottle.

Titusville police Sgt. John Lau said all possible measures should be taken to make stores less attractive to robbers.

"We don't want any heroes," Lau said, "because that's when someone gets hurt."

Measures recommended by police include not cluttering windows with advertisements to keep lines of sight clear, keeping small amounts of cash in the register, and using surveillance video cameras.

In addition, the NACS recommends stores position cash registers prominently, use good lighting inside and outside, and eliminate escape routes.

Sonia Norris, a co-manager of Little Caesars Pizza on Hopkins Avenue in Titusville, said she was more aware of safety during the rash of robberies that began in October, but hasn't changed any procedures.

"We do everything we can to discourage it," said Norris, adding frequent cash drops are made into a safe that employees cannot access, trash is taken out early, and employees are seen safely to their cars after closing.

Lau said businesses should practice robbery responses, which can be done with police supervision. He said being aware is the first step, but that improvements in technology, especially digital surveillance cameras, were making it more difficult for robbers to get away with their crimes.

"If there's no chance of a gun going off, it might be something we would take a look at," Lau said.

Mitchner said his goal is to make sure no one is killed. "Everyone has a right to protect themselves," he said. "These are honest, law abiding citizens."


http://www.floridatoday.com/!NEWSROOM/localstoryA44976A.htm

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Pendragon
February 26, 2003, 04:34 PM
"We don't want any heroes," Lau said, "because that's when someone gets hurt."

If it was not dangerous, it would not be heroic. People can be heroic if they want to be. It's their life and their right.

pax
February 26, 2003, 05:07 PM
Erickson said less than 10 percent of store robberies result in injury, and less than one percent result in death. But victims who resist armed robbers are almost 50 times more likely to be killed, she said, citing a 1986 study.
I'd be interested to see the raw data for this study. Anyone know what he's talking about?

pax

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable. -- Mark Twain

Tamara
February 26, 2003, 05:09 PM
Sam Colt invented a defense tool for convenience stores 'way back in the early 19th Century... ;)

Russ
February 26, 2003, 05:27 PM
You should be able to push a button with your hand or foot that discharges a 12ga shotgun from under the register into the robber. This would assure that they save their own lives.

JohnBT
February 26, 2003, 05:28 PM
"...launching an electrically charged dart from a box beneath the register..."

Impractical for 7-11 and most convenience stores. They'll never remove all that junk piled up around the registers...they collect a fee for each square inch of that prime location.

Now, that rocker-panel-mounted anti-hijacker flamethrower rig from South Africa could be modified to work :)

John

SquirrelNuts
February 26, 2003, 05:28 PM
Tamara,

HA!! HA!! HA!! So true...And a proven design too!

-SquirrelNuts

George Hill
February 26, 2003, 05:29 PM
Remember the animated movie "HEAVY METAL"? The segment with the taxi cab... A dude pulls a gun in the cab and the Cabbie hits a button with his foot and vaporizes the threat.
I've always liked that.
That's a system that could be used. Making it in the real world, it would probably have to be a spread-fire of these stun-gun darts. Unless we assume that the bad guy is going to stand right in front of the register.


Hmmm... I think Tams is right. But I think a 12 Guage would be a better choice. A double barrel side by side can be had for cheap. Easy to use and most effective.

SHOP SMART! SHOP S-MART!

Blackhawk
February 26, 2003, 05:41 PM
Tamara posted my first thought on this. :D"The key thing to train employees and managers in retail or convenience stores is not to resist or have weapons," said Rosemary Erickson, president of San Deigo-based Athena Research, which studies retail crime.Sounds more to me like Athena Research is a front for the Amalgamated Stop & Rob Brotherhood. :rolleyes:

seeker_two
February 26, 2003, 05:58 PM
Sam Colt invented a defense tool for convenience stores 'way back in the early 19th Century...

But D.B. Wesson & J.M.Browning perfected it...:cool:

Sounds more to me like Athena Research is a front for the Amalgamated Stop & Rob Brotherhood.

Is that "Athena" as in "A-theen-a liquor store that needs a-robbin'...:evil: "

Croyance
February 26, 2003, 06:00 PM
What happens if a customer is hit with this taser? Is the robber just going to run or will he be angry and start shooting? If the robber is hit with the taser, what happens if he pulls the trigger from the convulsions and an employee or customer is shot? Does the store, chain, manufacturer of taser have enough liability insurance?

Hkmp5sd
February 26, 2003, 06:14 PM
"The key thing to train employees and managers in retail or convenience stores is not to resist or have weapons," said Rosemary Erickson, president of San Deigo-based Athena Research, which studies retail crime.

The very mentality that allowed 3 of 4 airliners to be used as guided missiles and kill thousands of civilians on the ground.

Quartus
February 26, 2003, 06:20 PM
Uh, I don 't suppose the goblins would find out about this and just learn to keep to one side?

Nah, they're not going to do that.


:rolleyes:



The fundamental flaw was pointed out by Mr. Hkmp5sd.

coonan357
February 26, 2003, 06:52 PM
wouldn't it be easier to hang a 20 ton weight above the check out and drop it like in the old monty python movies????:D

BigJake_old
February 26, 2003, 07:10 PM
coonan- LOL, thats great, but whatabout the trapdoor complete with deep pit and aligators??

MessedUpMike
February 26, 2003, 08:05 PM
I like the trap door idea, possible liabilty issue for broken bones, but pretty sound otherwise. I do it without the alligators thorugh, just for when some idiot bystander goes down the hole with them.

Mike Irwin
February 26, 2003, 08:20 PM
Oh wow. He's invented the stun gun.

Just how would the clerk aim such a device?

Or is Mr. Thug expected to simply stand on the foot prints painted on the floor, you know, the ones with the thunderbolts sketched through them...

Marko Kloos
February 26, 2003, 08:31 PM
"The key thing to train employees and managers in retail or convenience stores is not to resist or have weapons," said Rosemary Erickson, president of San Deigo-based Athena Research, which studies retail crime.

"They key thing to encourage the robbers to stop by is to announce to them that nobody has the means or attitude to resist."

I'm going to wager a guess here and say that Ms. Erickson has never worked the graveyard shift at the Kwik-E-Mart, and likely never will.

The sad truth is that this policy is merely a legal CYA for the convenience store chains. The potential money paid to the family of a dead employee is weighed against the money paid in a potential lawsuit by injured customers or crooks.

AFAIK, the crooks prefer the chain stop-'n-robs for precisely that reason. Locally-owned mom-and-pop convenience stores are known to "shoot back".

El Rojo
February 26, 2003, 09:11 PM
What about allowing the employees to openly carry? That sounds fairly simple and practical to me. That way it is no secret that if someone comes into the store to rob it, there is going to be a shootout. That means the robbers are either going to make a plan to kill the employee or they are going to decide to hold up another place. I would think that having two openly armed employees would increase the odds that the robbers would pick a different store. Three armed employees?

I think it was said best when someone mentioned that the appeasement attitude is the reason 3 out of 4 hijackings on 9/11 were successful. I think the abondonment of that attitude in the air is the reason it hasn't happened since. People are not going down without a fight anymore.

Quartus
February 26, 2003, 09:29 PM
Rojo, the chains aren't going to allow it for fear of lawsuits. :rolleyes:


Didn't stop a couple of IDPA shooters in the L.A. area about 10 years back.

Two guys walked in to rob a 7-11 while our two heroes were working. They reacted properly. A couple of 1911s did double tap, next target, double tap. The two perps went down with 4 hits each. DEAD on the scene. :D

The video tape was a big hit on local TV news until the antis realized the implications.

Funny how fast some stories die.

Psssniper
February 26, 2003, 10:08 PM
Sure sounds great, until the badguys realize that stores have them then they just shoot the poor clerk right off the bat.
ARM the clerks!

BigJake_old
February 26, 2003, 11:07 PM
Shottgun (rem 11/87) on some kind of swivel under the counter, loaded with OO buck, most counter-fronts are made of nice light 1/8 in plyform, all the clerk has to do is get it aimed close and blast away, effictively blowing the perp in half! :evil:

Redlg155
February 26, 2003, 11:13 PM
Interesting idea, but what if you are robbed by two or more?

Opps...back to the drawing board. :D


Good Shooting
RED

BigJake_old
February 26, 2003, 11:15 PM
11/87 = 10 rnds with tube extension, thats enough for at least 10-15 dead or seriously injured badguys, depending on if they line up correctly

Big_R
February 27, 2003, 12:37 AM
I remember seeing something a while back about a device used during car jackings that amounted to a switch inside the cab which released a large amount of pepper spray or something of that nature outside the car. Maybe something that would fog the entire store would be useful. A teargas fogger?

Ryan

Mike Irwin
February 27, 2003, 12:46 AM
"graveyard shift at the Kwik-E-Mart"

(Best Apu voice) "Yes, yes, I know the drill, I do work in a convenience store you know!"

V-fib
February 27, 2003, 12:49 AM
I like the trap door idea leading to the stores septic tank! :cool:

sm
February 27, 2003, 12:53 AM
Many years ago before all the anti-gun, PC patrol, Brady bunch and litigation wave...
My Aunt in a certain town in TX was juror. Seems the store owner tired of being beaten, robbed and having himself and family threatened with death from last robbery of his liquor store, Rigged up a dbl bbl shotgun with 00 , the register was in the back Vee corner --behind the 'drape" was the shotty. Sure enough the BG came in and said it was time to die...figured owner had given description to police. Owner raised hands in submision, cords tripped triggers, BG in pcs.

Owner found not guilty, "in fear of life owner had a right to defend himself, the fact he used cords to trip shotgun was due to injuries sustained in prior beating, being disabled he simply had to adapt to protect himself". :D

yep prefer real bullets over stun guns anyday myself

DadOfThree
February 27, 2003, 01:14 AM
"We don't want any heroes," Lau said, "because that's when someone gets hurt."
That has not happened in Titusville, though several people were beaten in attacks that became progressively violent.
One woman had teeth knocked out, and a man was cut with a liquor bottle.
Seems to me that people are already getting hurt. As long as I have a choice, I would prefer that the robbers be the ones that got hurt. Around here, I doubt that the taser terminals would penetrate the multiple layers of clothing the bad guys would be wearing because of the cold. Now you would have a ticked off robber as well. Let the employees arm themselves!

Hand_Rifle_Guy
February 27, 2003, 01:16 AM
http://www.drunken-style.com/images/friday/1stun.JPG
http://www.drunken-style.com/images/friday/6stun.JPG


Don't be fooled. :p

Stunguns are a skosh over-rated. (http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=120749&highlight=500+000+volt)

Buy a Makarov! :cool:

TechBrute
February 27, 2003, 02:07 AM
I wonder how long it would take for a criminal's family to sue because it killed the crook's pacemaker. :rolleyes:

jmbg29
February 27, 2003, 02:40 AM
...launching an electrically charged dart from a box beneath the register...That is the stupidest thing I have heard all day, and I live on an island that has residents that went to Iraq to be human-shields. :banghead: :banghead: :banghead: :eek: :barf:

rick458
February 27, 2003, 02:53 AM
Back 5 0r 6 years ago there was a rash of convinience stor robberies that ended in death for the clerks
so they had SHOTGUN SQUADS at certain stores picked in random
2 or more off duty officers working as hidden security armed with
not stunguns but SHOTGUNS it fixed the problem but it was latter discontinued:evil:

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