This came in tonight from the VCDL-ALERT regarding a bank robbery foiled by a legally armed citizen. It’s a first-hand account of how a legally armed citizen prevented a bank robbery at Sun Trust Bank:
On Tuesday the 26th of December I went down to the Sun Trust bank in Hopewell to complete some financial transactions. I got there just as they were opening and entered with a woman who had been waiting outside. There were three tellers in position to the left, one customer service associate at a desk to the right, and the manager was seated in his office to the rear right, so there were seven of us in the bank.
I have been banking there for years and know the tellers fairly well, who are quite used to me walking in with my holstered 1911 government model .45 and two reserve magazines. As I was transacting business with my teller, a man came in through the front door on this warm December morning wearing a full ski mask, with only his eyes showing. He was wringing his hands and glanced furtively toward the office and then swept his eyes across the room, finally towards me and the tellers. At that, he turned and BOLTED back out the door!
The teller next to my position was the first to recognize the implications of what had just happened, and yelled for the manager who came rushing out from his office. He glanced toward me before sticking his head out the front door, looking both ways down the sidewalk, and pronouncing that the suspicious character had apparently left the area. The same teller then expressed her relief that I had been there, and mentioned that the next Sun Trust down on Route 10 (Iron Bridge Road) had just been robbed the week
Philip Van Cleave of VCDL provides some informative commentary on the incident:
SunTrust does not ban their law-abiding customers from legally carrying a firearm for self defense.
Had this been a Wachovia or a BB&T, both of which ban guns, the outcome would probably have been very different.
This event also underlines something that both Dennis and I believe - open carry, in and of itself, can be a strong deterrent to crime. Yes, I know - the criminal COULD do a preemptive strike against someone he sees carrying openly. But in practice such an event is extremely rare. The outcome described [here] is the usual case.
The other lesson is that crime almost always happens when you least expect it. In this case Dennis was busy getting some deposits taken care of and was focused on that task, something he has done for years routinely without a hitch. So when something unusual happened, his mind was a little slow switching gears.
Looking at it from a criminal’s point of view, it was the perfect time for a holdup - the bank had just opened and there were few customers. (You can imagine that it would be much more difficult to rob a bank with, say, thirty people inside.)
In the end, this worked out as it usually does when a criminal finds himself face-to-face with an armed citizen - the criminal flees without a shot being fired.
In this more unusual case, Dennis’s gun wasn’t even touched or brandished!
The clear take-away on this for me is that criminals fear armed citizens at least as much as police officers. If we want less crime, prohibiting legally carried defensive firearms is not going to help us get there.
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