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Corrections officer invents defense tool for convenience stores

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Drizzt, Feb 26, 2003.

  1. Drizzt

    Drizzt Well-Known Member

    Corrections officer invents defense tool for convenience stores

    Stun gun-like dart could deter robberies, he says

    By James Dean

    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."

  2. Pendragon

    Pendragon Well-Known Member

    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.
  3. pax

    pax Well-Known Member

    I'd be interested to see the raw data for this study. Anyone know what he's talking about?


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

    Tamara Senior Member

    Sam Colt invented a defense tool for convenience stores 'way back in the early 19th Century... ;)
  5. Russ

    Russ Well-Known Member

    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.
  6. JohnBT

    JohnBT Well-Known Member

    "...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 :)

  7. SquirrelNuts

    SquirrelNuts Well-Known Member


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

  8. George Hill

    George Hill Well-Known Member

    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.

  9. Blackhawk

    Blackhawk Member In Memoriam

    Tamara posted my first thought on this. :D
    Sounds more to me like Athena Research is a front for the Amalgamated Stop & Rob Brotherhood. :rolleyes:
  10. seeker_two

    seeker_two Well-Known Member

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

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

    Croyance Well-Known Member

    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?
  12. Hkmp5sd

    Hkmp5sd Well-Known Member

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

    Quartus Well-Known Member

    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.


    The fundamental flaw was pointed out by Mr. Hkmp5sd.
  14. coonan357

    coonan357 Well-Known Member

    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
  15. BigJake_old

    BigJake_old member

    coonan- LOL, thats great, but whatabout the trapdoor complete with deep pit and aligators??
  16. MessedUpMike

    MessedUpMike Well-Known Member

    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.
  17. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Well-Known Member

    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...
  18. Marko Kloos

    Marko Kloos Moderator Emeritus

    "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".
  19. El Rojo

    El Rojo Well-Known Member

    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.
  20. Quartus

    Quartus Well-Known Member

    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.

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