Staff at Kitchener, Ont. business thwart attempted robbery

Mallory Robinson says it was “a little more than [she] was expecting” when she arrived at work Wednesday morning.

Robinson was in her family’s store, Connect Equipment, on Huron Road near Trussler Road in Kitchener, when she says two shoplifters tried to take off with around $5,000 worth of tools like chainsaws and quick-cuts.

It happened around 11 a.m. and the entire incident was captured on security cameras.

“They had product in their hands and they were running as fast as they could out the front door,” Robinson said. “So I started screaming for all the guys, yelling ‘You’re not going to rob us!’ And I’m running out after them and all the guys are following behind me.”

Robinson and around five other employees chased the men out the door as they jumped into a car.

She says she was determined not to let them get away.

“It’s a family owned business, I’m part of the family, my father is the manager here and it just wasn’t going to happen – that’s what was going through my head – nope this isn’t going to happen today, that’s not how it’s going to go down,” Robinson said.

Mallory Robinson says she’s worked at her family’s business, Connect Equipment in Kitchener, for around 15 years. They’ve been robbed several times at night, but never during the day with staff there. (Stefanie Davis/CTV Kitchener)

Robinson stood in front of the car in an attempt to block it, but was pushed backward when then driver hit the gas pedal.

“I don’t even know what made me think to do that, I just went and did it and regretted it almost instantaneously,” she said with a laugh.

Jeff Sallans, the owner of Connect Equipment, says when he heard Robinson yell, he took off from his office.

“We all chased them, they all lost control and hit this skid-steer [tractor]. That’s when they all fled. They jumped out of the car and fled and we tried to grab them the best we could,” he explained.

Together, the employees held the driver until police arrived. The four other men in the car took off on foot, but were later caught by police.

Staff say the men attempted to take off in this car, but lost control trying to exit the parking lot and crashed into a tractor. (Submitted)

A hold and secure was put in place at two local schools, Janet Metcalfe and Jean Steckle, while police searched for the men.

Police confirmed they were able to catch all the people who were allegedly involved in the attempted robbery.

Sallans says it means a lot that his staff were willing to go above and beyond for the store.

“I told my staff afterwards ‘if I get in a fight somewhere, I want them beside me,” Sallans said with a laugh.

“I was pretty impressed that they came out and were after these guys so quick, otherwise they would have gotten away.”

He says he’s happy with the outcome.

“We’ve been robbed here so many times so it’s a little bit of satisfaction to actually catch somebody doing it,” he said.

“It was a little bit of a joy I guess.”

As for Robinson, she says she has no regrets about how she handled the situation and would do it again – with one possible exception.

“I would probably react the same way, but not be as stupid to stand in front of the vehicle this time,” she said.

THE ARRESTS

On Thursday afternoon, police confirmed they arrested five men in connection to the attempted robbery.

In a release, Waterloo regional police said when officers arrived at the business, they placed the driver under arrest.

Police located and arrested the other four people using dogs.

Police said the group were driving a stolen vehicle. The men, who range in age from 22 to 32 year old were jointly charged with robbery. Two of them were wanted by other police services for multiple offences including fraud and property crimes.

Police also seized suspected heroin and crystal meth.

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