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Liquor store manager uses words and a locked door to calm knife-wielding, teenaged suspect
Published Thursday, December 7, 2017 9:45PM MST
A young man’s alleged attempt to steal a bottle from a liquor store in Taradale on Saturday night was thwarted by a locked door but the approach of a store employee after facing a knife helped ensure the situation didn’t escalate.
Praveen Chandrasekaran, store manager at Everest Wine & Spirits, was working the register on December 2 when he noticed someone enter the store who he thought he recognized from a previous incident. Chandrasekaran locked the store’s doors and asked the customer for identification.
The suspect grabbed a liquor bottle and tried to run out of the business but the locked door halted his progress. Chandrasekaran fled to a backroom after noticing a folded knife in the suspect’s hand.
“When I looked at the knife, I was like ‘Okay, okay. This is not a time for chivalry, right?’,” said Chandrasekaran. “That’s why I just moved. When I looked at it, I did get scared first. I thought that he can do anything. He was nervous so he can do anything. It’s not out of his control.”
The frustrated young man smashed a cell phone on the ground and pleaded to be let out of the store.
Chandrasekaran approached the young man and told him to remain calm as everything had been recorded on surveillance camera. The store manager then gestured to a small crowd that had gathered outside the entrance, told the suspect that he could be in danger if he left the store and convinced the teenager to wait in the store’s bathroom until police arrived.
“I just told this guy, in the right way, I will keep you in a safe place.”
Chandrasekaran stands by his decision to lock himself in the store with the suspected thief while not resorting to violence.
“Once we encourage this kind of stuff, he’ll tell it to his buddy and it will keep on continuing,” said Chandrasekaran. “If we fight with them, we’re going to (get) hurt.”
Officers arrived and arrested the 16-year-old in the store’s bathroom without incident. The teenager has since been charged with robbery.
The Calgary Police Service would not comment on Chandrasekaran’s actions but they do not recommend workers placing themselves in harms’ way.
With files from CTV’s Shaun Frenette