INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Two men who tried to rob a grocery store on the east side got more than they bargained for Friday morning.
The cashier grabbed a knife and chased one of them behind the counter.
Even though one of the men had a gun, thankfully no shots were fired.
Employees believe the same men have robbed several other people in the neighborhood in recent days.
There was confusion for both workers in the store at the time because neither speaks English fluently.
Several employees tells News 8 they think the would-be robbers might even be targeting the Latino population.
It happened just after 11:15 a.m. Friday when two men in hoodies walked into the Carniceria Campos in the 2800 block of East Michigan Street, which is near Rural Street.
One quickly pointed a gun at the female cashier. The other one seemed to be carrying a box for the money.
Seconds later, Fredy Amilcar walked around the corner and took a little bit to realize the grocery store was being robbed.
Then he sees the gun.
Fellow employee Alex Zapata translated his words.
“He was trying to get the other one away from her,” Zapata said. “He was trying to help her but was afraid of the gun.”
The robber with the box threw the cashier up against the front counter. She fell down and that’s when it turned. She grabbed the knife she had been using to peel onions and chased the robber around to the front.
It looked like the other robber, the one with the gun, was about to shoot several times. But finally, they ran off an agonizing 96 seconds after they walked in.
“A brave thing, a good thing because she chased him because if that wouldn’t have happened, they would have done more, something worse,” Amilcar said.
Others told News 8 don’t think this is the first time for these two robbers.
One customer who didn’t want to be identified said the same men robbed her of money and her cellphone a couple days ago right after she buckled her kids into her car.
Amilcar’s roommmate was robbed late Thursday night about a block away.
Employees say the Latino restaurant across the street was robbed last Friday but not by the same men.
“No, I don’t feel safe in this neighborhood at all,” Zapata said.
Zapata said he believes the robbers are specifically choosing Latino victims.
“Some are scared of being deported if they call the police. They are afraid of them,” he said.
But, IMPD said, they’re not interested in a victim’s immigration status. They’re only interested in solving crimes.
Police came to Carniceria Campos on Friday but were unable to find the robbers in this case.
Most of the victims said they reported their crimes, but News 8 could not verify that.
As word spreads of the robbery attempt, there’s a real worry from employees that even with all the cameras both inside and outside and the large monitors right by the cash register, it’s not enough and the robbers will come back.
“That could have been me,” Zapata said. “Thank God it wasn’t me. Good thing nobody got hurt.”
“They maybe (will) come back,” Amilcar said.
IMPD declined News 8’s interview request for this story but said detectives have not determined a connection between these cases. They provided a list of tips, in both English and Spanish, to help keep people from being robbery victims.
On Monday, Latavion Clay, 19, was charged with two counts of armed robbery and one count of robbery, all involving Latino victims or businesses.
One charge is for robbing a man in the parking lot of a carniceria in the 2100 block of West Washington Street in October.
One charge is for the robbery of a taco truck about six blocks away in the 2700 block of West Washington Street on Jan. 10.
Police had him under surveillance when they said he robbed the same taco truck on Jan. 23. They also spotted him scoping out several other Latino businesses the previous night.
As of Friday night, Clay remains in the Marion County Jail and is due back in court on Monday. Police were unable to provide a jail-booking photo of Clay on Friday night.