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Robbery foiled by quick-thinking manager

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – An attempted armed robbery at Raimondo’s Pizza Saturday night ended with the suspect walking away empty-handed. A manager’s quick-thinking and action got the man out of the store.

It started just after 10 p.m. at the restaurant just off West State Boulevard. A man walked in through the front door, went up to the counter with a gun, and demanded all the money. It’s a very scary situation, but manager Alye Clark said she just focused on getting the robber out of her store.

The family-owned and operated restaurant is celebrating 16 years in business this July. Manager Alye Clark has worked at Raimondo’s Pizza for almost as long as it’s been open.

When she looked at the surveillance video from Saturday night on Monday, she could recall every detail.

“We were working and the gentleman came up and he stood up front probably 20-30 seconds while we finished up in back. Then another employee went up to ring him up and he pulled the gun,” Clark said.

That’s when Clark walked up, closed the drawer, and pushed the alarm.

“All he said was give me the money, and I told him no, you’re not getting the money. Then, he saw me close the cash register because the other employee had  opened it because he told her to and she was scared. I just shut the drawer and said you’re not getting any money. He said what are you doing, it was already  open, give me everything you had and I’m like no, you’re not getting any money, and he just left,” Clark said. “I just followed him out and locked the door and  that was it.”

It’s an outcome Clark said the robber probably never expected.

“He looked a little shocked because I think he thought just a gun would intimidate us into giving him the money,” Clark said. “I wasn’t really that scared. I mean  my adrenaline hit, but I was just trying to get him out of here more than anything.”

While some people might call Clark crazy or even a hero, she doesn’t see it that way.

“I’m pretty tough and I don’t even consider it bravery. I just was doing what I thought was right” Clark said.”We work really hard for our money and our restaurant and I wasn’t going to let him take it. The adrenaline hits and all I could think was he’s not getting our money and try to get him out of the building without anyone getting shot.”

Clark’s mother, the co-owner of the restaurant, said she’s not surprised a bit by her daughter’s reaction to the robber.

“She’s a beast. She has no fear,” Cynthia Clark said. “Alye works very hard and she wasn’t going to give up to somebody off the street that doesn’t want to work. I’m just still in shock. I just don’t understand why people feel they have to do this. They have no happiness in their life or no one to turn to, that they have to pull guns on people.”

Clark said she never felt threatened, just more frustrated that someone would try to take away from her business.

“People shouldn’t be out robbing other people. Go get a job. Work for what you have because we work really hard for our business and our family and you shouldn’t try to take other people’s property,” Clark said. “A lot of people would say it’s not worth your life, just give them what they want. I don’t want anybody else to do something that would put their life in jeopardy. It was just what I thought was right for my situation at the time. He was just here trying to get money. I don’t think he came in intentionally going to hurt anyone.”

It’s a work-ethic Clark went right back to the second the robber walked out the door.

“We just went back to work like normal. The cop was following me around the kitchen asking me questions. The phone never  stopped ringing. It was just back to  work,” Clark said. “It was Saturday night. It’s 10:00. You know, we start getting slammed on the  weekends and on that day.”

Clark said it was hard to get a good look at the robber, but she did remember some details.

“Tall, just really skinny, he was tan. I couldn’t see his hair or anything, dark eyes, that’s about it,” Clark said.

Anyone who might recognize the man from the surveillance video is asked to call Crime Stoppers immediately. That number is 436-STOP.