LYNN, Mass. – The clerk of a Lynn convenience story and a feisty customer are being praised for fighting back against a would-be robber armed with a stun gun.
It happened shortly after 8 p.m. Friday at Highland Variety on Adams Street.
The clerk, a father of four, was behind the counter with his oldest son.
That’s when police say 18-year-old Eric Mackie stormed in wearing a mask and wielding the electric device.
“I was more defending myself and my son in that moment,” the clerk told Boston 25 News.
In Spanish, the clerk explained that this is the third time he’s been robbed in his nearly four years of working at Highland Variety.
This time, he said, his instincts took over to protect his 15-year-old son, who was helping out at the store.
Regular customers said they were appalled to hear of yet another crime at the store that has experience its share of robberies in recent years.
“There’s plenty of work out there,” said regular customer Ron Perron. “If you need money, work. Period.”
Surveillance video shows a customer checking out at the register when the masked suspect entered the business.
The customer backs away as the suspect moves in to threaten the clerk and his son with the stun gun.
Suddenly, the footage shows a 2-liter soda hitting the suspect in the head after being thrown by the customer who was standing out of frame.
The clerk then chased the disoriented suspect out of the convenience store with a baseball bat.
Store owner Mohammed Ali is commending the actions of his clerk and his customer. However, he believes it’s only a matter of time before his business is targeted again.
“It never ends, there so many crime in the Lynn city,” Ali said. “Day-by-day it’s more and more.”
Ali made headlines back in July after Highland Variety was targeted three times less than three weeks.
At the time, he was quoted in media reports as firing the clerk who was robbed for being “an easy target."
According to Ali, his words were taken out of context. He told Boston 25 News that the other clerk was moved to another store in Salem “for his own safety”.
“He’s too scared,” explained Ali.
The clerk getting attention this time around says he wishes he could leave, but he needs to continue working to support his family.
He asked that his name not be published but wants other criminals to know he has four children to feed – the youngest is just 2 years old.
The teenager suspected in Friday night’s robbery attempt was arrested just minutes after the crime thanks to the silent panic alarm pressed by the clerk.
According to police, Mackie was spotted dashing through people’s backyards and tried to get rid of the stun gun, a weapon now leading to elevated charges in this failed robbery attempt.
The 18-year-old is charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, attempt to commit a crime while masked, possession of an electric stun gun and on a warrant for disorderly conduct.
Neighbors told Boston 25 News that Mackie lives with his mother less than a half mile away from Highland Variety.
Cox Media Group