Dededo store owner recalls frightening armed robbery - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Dededo store owner recalls frightening armed robbery

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - The Guam Police Department is deploying all of its resources to find the individuals responsible for two armed robberies that occurred on Thursday.  A Dededo mom-and-pop store was the latest target.

"I run business for 20 years and this is the first time [sic]," said Richard Ha. As the owner of Economart, he was training a new stocker on Thursday night when he heard a commotion from the front of the store. "All of a sudden there was shouting," Ha recalled.     

As he walked to the front of the store, Ha says he saw a man pointing a gun at his wife. "So when I look, he wearing the bandana red bandana, black cap over his head and wearing a jacket on top of it. He was yelling to my wife and pointed the gun and she prepare the money into the bag," he shared. When asked what the person was yelling, he said, "It happened so quickly I couldn't really hear.  I just heard yelling."

The store's surveillance footage showed a man walks in just after 9:15 in the evening and stopping at the counter, looking through a basket of betel nut.  Soon after a male individual armed with a gun walks in pointing the gun at the cashier demanding money.  Ha walked up from one of the aisles and put his hands up as his wife grabbed a plastic bag, opened the cash register and put the money inside.

"She has a weak heart. Heart problem, but she was really scared last night," he said.

The suspect fled on foot and the unphased customer followed behind. At first, the owners thought the suspect and the customer were in it together, but Ha says the customer was a regular. "He was drunk, so he wasn't really scared he was standing right here. The robbery was right here. And then when robber left he followed," the businessman explained.

The suspect fled on foot down the street and Ha saw him jump over a wall and get away as he called police. "I had a gun in my pocket but I didn't want to use unless really last minute. So when I look at him, I was thinking maybe he just trying to scare enough to get the money and his purpose was not to kill," he said.

But with crime on the rise around the island, Ha isn't so sure that stores like his are safe anymore - even with surveillance cameras and being armed with a gun. "I feel like in the future, near future if they never solve the problems it will continue to be this way. I believe somebody gonna get hurt really bad because of drug abuse and people carrying the gun and really loaded. Nobody knows. Maybe in the future it's getting worse not getting better," he said.

Police are asking the public to come forward with any information by calling GPD at 472-8911 or Guam Crimestoppers at 477-HELP (4357).

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