Armed Robber Out-Gunned, Taken Down By Store Employees

An armed robber in Cleveland has his plans ruined Friday by two convenience store employees who were not about to become victims.

Employees of a convenience store in the city’s Stockyards neighborhood thwarted an armed robbery Friday by sneaking up behind the masked gunmen, putting a gun to his back and firing warning shots into the ceiling, according to police.

The employees held Fredrick Thornton, 26, at gunpoint inside the Convenient Food Mart on Clark Avenue until police took him into custody, according to police reports and surveillance footage of the incident.

Thornton is charged with aggravated robbery. He is being held in the Cleveland City Jail on $100,000 bond after his first court appearance on Monday.

The store’s owner, Haytham Mustafa, said he’s proud of the way his employees handled a dangerous situation.

“Thank God no one was hurt,” he said. “They really handled it well. They didn’t go overboard and didn’t hurt anyone. That’s what we wanted to do– hold him and let the law deal with him.”

Thornton wore a surgical mask and latex gloves when he walked into the convenience store about 10:45 p.m. Saturday.

He pointed a handgun at the 51-year-old employee behind the register, according to police reports. He demanded cash and counted to three and told the man he wasn’t moving while smacking his gun against the register, according to police and the video.

A 24-year-old employee working in the back of the store heard a ruckus, grabbed the store’s gun and crept up behind Thornton. He placed the gun at Thornton’s back, police reports say.

Thornton whipped around and fought with the man. They ended up in a corner next to a stand fighting over the gun. An employee ran from behind the counter and grabbed Thornton’s gun.

The employee managed to release the clip from Thornton’s gun, then grab the gun itself. He loaded the clip back into the gun and fired several shots into the ceiling, the video shows.


Not mentioned in the article is that the 51-year-old employee also drew a handgun on Thorton after the 24year-old employee rushed in. Neither man appears to have fired their own weapons during the incident.

Thornton confessed to the robbery after being taken into custody, claiming that he was homeless and thousands of dollars in debt. He is also the primarily suspect in a robbery of a Spanish-speaking woman who made a 911 call earlier in the evening based upon his description, but she has not be located yet so that she can file charges, as she did not apparently leave contact information.

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