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Elderly Store Owner Says ‘No’ To Would-Be Robber

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MOUNT CLEMENS (AP) - When a would-be robber showed up at a southeast Michigan ice cream and convenience store, the 86-year-old owner said no.

Irene Szlachtowicz told The Macomb Daily that she wasn’t afraid when the 17-year-old walked into Miller Bros. Creamery in Mount Clemens around midday Oct. 2 wearing a coat and a hood covering most of his face.

Szlachtowicz, who has worked at the store since 1955 and has owned it since 1982, recalled that he asked for a small cigar and demanded cash.

“He said, ‘Give me all the money from the back. Open the cash register and give me the money,'” Szlachtowicz said. “I walked back a couple of steps, and I said, ‘I can’t do that.’ He looked at me and I said again, ‘I can’t do that.'”

A potential customer pulled up in a pickup truck. The teen fled with the cigar and was followed by the customer, who called police. The teen was arrested.

The teen pleaded guilty to unarmed robbery last week. He has asked to be sentenced under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, which allows defendants ages 17 to 21 to have a conviction erased if they complete sentence terms. Sentencing was set for Dec. 13.

Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham commended Szlachtowicz and the customer, noting that a weapon wasn’t shown by the suspect.

“We would recommend if somebody is armed, you would not put up a confrontation. … In this case, it worked out,” Wickersham said.

© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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