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Pellet Gun-Packing Bystander Thwarts Robbery

By Jeff Jones
Journal Staff Writer
Originally ran here in the Albuquerque Journal on Saturday, May 19, 2001

A bystander wielding a pellet gun helped thwart a robbery early Friday at an Albuquerque sandwich shop, police said. What's more, a group of people held the suspect down until officers arrived, police added.

Thomas "Mr. Brown" Molina, 27, who police allege is a gang member, is now facing a charge of assault with intent to commit a violent felony.

Albuquerque Police Department Sgt. Brian McCutcheon said police "appreciate the help, and a bad guy was taken off the streets." However, he added, police would rather not have residents placing their lives in danger to thwart crime.

The failed robbery attempt happened a few minutes before 2 a.m. at a Subway shop on East Central, McCutcheon said. The shop closes for the night at 2 a.m.

According to McCutcheon, a man with a pocketknife came into the shop and demanded that a worker open the cash register and give him money. The man also vaulted over the counter and threatened to stab the worker, McCutcheon said.

A witness in the store at the time went outside and told some friends waiting in a vehicle that the shop was being robbed. One man happened to have a pellet gun, McCutcheon said, and he came into the Subway, pointed the pellet gun at the suspect and demanded he drop his knife.

The suspect complied, McCutcheon said. The suspect then ran to the back of the shop and tried to leave, but a group of bystanders tackled him and held him down for police.

Molina remained in the Bernalillo County Detention Center Friday night; his jail bond has been set at $10,000.

KABA NOTE:  While it is nice that the police acknowledge the excellent and courageous actions of the citizens who helped rid the streets of a thug, their suggestion that citizens should not resist criminals is asinine. If all citizens took that public servant's advice, criminals would rule our society. Hogwash. That group of citizens deserves a round of awards.

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