The cashier at a Calgary convenience store who managed to single-handedly fight off two intruders and keep them barred inside the store long enough for police to arrive says he was scared, but also concerned about protecting himself.
Nisar Ahmed, who goes by the name “Sonny,” was the only one inside the A Plus One Convenience Store on Aug. 17 when two assailants armed with a crowbar and a pickax entered.
The first intruder, dressed in a jumpsuit and a ski mask, pointed a weapon at Sonny and cornered him behind the counter, ordering him to get down on the ground.
The second, a woman with her face concealed with a bandana and sunglasses, began stuffing cigarette packages into a duffel bag.
Sonny admits he was scared when the two barged in.
“But then, you know, I decide I have to protect myself. Maybe if I don’t protect myself, maybe he will hurt me a lot,” he told CTV Calgary on Wednesday.
Though the first intruder repeatedly told Sonny to get down on the ground, Sonny says he was too afraid of what might happen if he complied.
“I was scared if maybe I go down, he will hit me on my back or something like that,” he recalled.
Convinced the intruder was planning to hurt him, Sonny fought back, trying to wrestle the intruder’s weapons away, managing to pull the man’s face mask off at the same time.
“Maybe if I take off the mask, I think, maybe his face would be seen by my camera everywhere. So maybe he’s a little bit scared or something of the camera,” he said.
After several tense moments of wrestling with both the man and then the woman at the same time, Sonny finally escaped from behind the counter and ran out of the store’s front door.
But rather than run for help, he immediately turned and locked the door and then placed a metal bench in front, along with what appears to be a display of windshield washer fluid. Meanwhile, a friend whom Sonny had called as the robbery began arrived to help.
That friend was a clerk from another nearby store who had locked his own store to race to the scene to help.
When the intruders attempted to smash the door windows and leave the store, Sonny and the friend began hurling large plastic jugs at them to keep them in the store longer.
Eventually, the pair pushed their way out the door.
“He tried to come out, but I catch one guy and then the police are coming and the police get him,” Sonny recalled.
Arthur Gordon Bennie, 35, was arrested at the scene. His alleged accomplice, Natalie Cory-Lyn Elaschuk, 25, was arrested the following afternoon at a nearby residence.
They face multiple robbery, weapons and assault charges, as well uttering threats, and various offences related to violating bail conditions.
Sonny says the “Calgary police came very fast” and he’s grateful to have escaped without much injury.
“I thank to my God, because I am safe. I’m very good, not injured or anything,” he said.
He added that he’s grateful to neighbours who called police.
“My area here is very nice. I don’t know where (these guys) came from,” he adding, nothing like this has ever happened in his neighbourhood.
The convenience store owner, Asif Mohammed, told CTV Calgary that he is proud of Sonny but says he trains his staff not to resist robberies and to escape to safety as soon as possible.
“We say if a robber comes in, we say, ‘Take whatever you guys want here, take whole store, we don’t care’. Because I care about my employees,” he said.
But he added that he has since increased security at the store and connected a monitoring system for all four of his stores.
Mohammed said he released the video to let criminals know his business is not an easy target.
As for Sonny, he took a few days off work after the robbery but is now back at work.