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Customer helps thwart robbery, rescue employee at NY boutique

Published: Apr. 3, 2021 at 9:30 PM PDT
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NEW YORK (WCBS) - A customer in New York walked in on a store robbery and ended up playing a key role in making the suspect flee and helping a young employee who had faced him alone.

Charlotte Dow, 18, was helping someone she thought was a customer at her mother’s boutique, Laina Jane, last Saturday morning, but the fake purchase quickly became pandemonium when Dow realized the store was getting robbed.

“All of a sudden, he starts going behind the counter, and then he cornered me in. My phone was out of reach,” Dow said. “I was panicking. I never been in that sort of position before.”

Police are searching for the suspect who faked a purchase at New York boutique Laina Jane then...
Police are searching for the suspect who faked a purchase at New York boutique Laina Jane then attempted to rob the store, locking an 18-year-old employee in the bathroom.(Source: NYPD, WCBS via CNN)

The 18-year-old was working all alone. The suspect threatened her life multiple times, and when Dow told him the store didn’t take cash, he locked her in a bathroom and began rummaging around.

“I just thought, ‘My mom is going to come in any second. I just have to hold on for a little bit longer or wait for a customer to come in,’” Dow said.

Her hopes became reality when a customer, who had been outside shopping, made her way inside, not realizing she was walking in on a robbery.

Dow screamed for help.

“I was unsure whether I should call out because I wasn’t sure if he was going to throw that woman into the bathroom with me. I wasn’t even sure if that woman was going to help me or anything or just would run out,” Dow said.

The suspect fled the scene, and the customer stayed, reassuring the 18-year-old that the situation was over.

“This wave of relief rushed over me,” Dow said. “I don’t know what would have happened if she didn’t come in at the time that she did.”

Police are still searching for the suspect, asking for the public’s help in identifying him.

Dow is OK and plans to keep working at the store. She hopes to see the customer-turned-hero often since the woman lives in the area.

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