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ROCKFORD, IL – An employee of the sandwich chain Subway was reportedly suspended from her job after store security footage of her fending off an armed robber who tried taking her purse while she was at work earlier in September went viral.

Araceli Sotelo was at work on September 5th at approximately 10:30 a.m. when she was confronted by an armed male suspect who went behind the counter in an effort to rob the victim.

Video shared online shows Sotelo and the suspect get into a physical struggle after she was heard screaming “stop” and “he’s trying to rob me.”

During the physical struggle that makes its way into the lobby of the restaurant, the suspect drops his firearm – which Sotelo is able to quickly retrieve before the suspect could.

The suspect can be seen holding onto the victim’s purse while she has control of the gun, and Sotelo then cracks the suspect upside his head with the weapon. Reportedly, the struggle continued from there outside of the store and security cameras purview.

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The Rockford Scanner was the first news outlet to report the attempted robbery and share a copy of the video, which Sotelo shared a copy of that video to her personal Tik Tok account.

Sotelo’s mother, Sylvia Oviedo, shared an update via a GoFundMe account on September 8th, writing that her daughter was suspended after defending herself against the armed robber:

“My name is Sylvia Oviedo and over the weekend my daughter was robbed while working (alone) and she fought him off and he only took HER purse. Nothing from the store was stolen.

Her manager has now suspended her from work leaving her without a job after she heroically defended the store. My daughter now has a broken phone, no ID, no debit card and no purse and he (the manager) [refuses] to compensate her for any of it.”

Speaking to the local Fox outlet WTVO, Sotelo recounted the harrowing experience:

“He kind of just showed me his gun, and I was like freaking out like, ‘woah you can’t do that please leave, I won’t call the police.’”

“[He said] ‘give me all the money’ and I said ‘I do not have any money, like, I do not have any money.’ That is all I had and he was just like, ‘give me everything before I hurt you.’”

She explained how she used her weight and leverage to overpower the suspect, which she said after getting his gun, he tried offering her purse back in exchange for his weapon and clothes:

“He dropped it trying to hold onto my purse, and I end up pulling his sweatshirt off him and I was like ‘show your face, show your face, you are on camera.’ and he was like ‘here you can have your purse back just give me back my stuff.’

He wanted me to give him back his gun and his clothes.’ I just hit him on the head with it, that is what he was doing to me.”

Sotelo says it was after the footage was leaked online that her manager suspended her, reportedly telling her that the suspension will remain in effect until all traces of the store security footage have been wiped from the internet:

“I get a call yesterday it was like, ‘if every one of these videos are not taken offline you will be suspended,’ and then I texted them and I’m like ‘how long am I suspended for?’ They said till everything is removed online. I have no ability to do that.”

“They did not want anyone to know, they wanted to be private that it happened to me and that I fought back, but I think they did that because they do not want corporate to know.”

The robbery victim thinks that her manager is trying to conceal what happened to her that day:

“They did not want anyone to know, they wanted to be private that it happened to me and that I fought back, but I think they did that because they do not want corporate to know.”

A spokesperson for Subway didn’t confirm if Sotelo was suspended or not, highlighting that Subway locations are independently operated by franchise owners:

“We are deeply concerned about the recent incident at a franchised location in Rockford, Illinois. The restaurant owner and management are fully cooperating with the police investigation, and we request patience until that process is complete.”

“Every restaurant is independently owned and operated. We are in contact with the franchisee to better understand the situation and assist as needed.”

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Caught on camera: Robbers kidnap at least six victims in five days in violent (police-defunded) DC crime spree

(Originally published September 1st, 2021)

WASHINGTON, DC – Police in the nation’s capital are searching for a gang of men for a series of kidnappings and robberies over the last week. Two of the suspects were caught on surveillance video.

The attacks began on August 24 on Cocoran Street in the Northwest section of Washington D.C. and spread across the city.

The gang has reportedly forced single male victims into a vehicle at gunpoint, driven them to ATM machines, and made them withdraw money from their bank accounts.

One victim told the media, “I thought they were going to kill me.”

Police believe the same three or four men are responsible for all the attacks, which have occurred in five spots in the city, both in the Northwest and on Capitol Hill, NE.

Police have a couple of leads in their investigation, including surveillance video from two of the men as they extracted money from an ATM machine with a victim’s card. Police said one of the assailants waved the victim’s cash in front of the camera.

A Nissan Rogue believed to have been used by the gang has been recovered by police. The Nissan was stolen from Prince George’s County in a carjacking earlier this month.

Police believe three or four men have attacked single men out alone six times in five days, including assaulting three men in the span of a few hours early Saturday morning near Logan Circle.

Commander John Haines of the Metropolitan Police Department discussed the crimes:

“It’s very unusual to have anyone kidnapped, which is exactly what they’re doing — taking people and putting them in a vehicle.

“In at least three of the cases, they’ve used what’s described as zip ties to tie the individuals’ hands together. And they’re blindfolding them.”    

The six kidnappings occurred between the hours of 10:30 p.m. and 3:45 a.m., according to police. The locations included the 1300 block of Corcoran Street NW on Aug. 24, the 5200 block of 14th Street NW on Aug. 25, 14th and Allison Street NW on Aug. 26 , the 1200 block of 10th Street NW on Aug. 28, 500 block of 13th Street NE on Aug. 28, and the 700 block of Kenyon Street NW on Aug. 28.

According to police reports, the gang also stole the victims’ wallets and phones. Police said the victims had been grabbed, punched, and in at least one case, hit with a gun. In one case, when a victim tried to run away, he was assaulted and forced into the vehicle, police said.

Police are asking the public to be alert and to cooperate with the robbers if targeted. Commander Haines said:

“Give them what they ask for. Don’t fight them. They are armed with a handgun. We don’t want to see anyone hurt.”

There is a $10,000 reward offered for information leading to an arrest in the case.

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LET Unity
Robbery suspects caught on video wrestling victim to the ground at a gas station in police-defunded Washington DC

(Originally published August 5th, 2021)

WASHINGTON, D.C.- According to authorities, five suspects are being sought after a robbery and beating of a victim at a D.C. gas station was captured on video. 

The Metropolitan Police Department released the surveillance footage of the attack hoping that the public will help identify the suspects. Police stated that the incident began just after 11:10 p.m. on July 24th.

The footage appears to show three people surrounding a male near a parked car at at gas station in the northeast quadrant of the city.

One of the individuals is seen on a bicycle. As the victim begins to walk away, one of the suspects grabs him from behind while another appears to reach into his pants pockets.

The victim is then shoved to the ground and kicked several times. At that point, another suspect comes and appears to help the other two suspects as they appear to go through the victim’s pockets.

As the attack is happening, a person gets into the driver’s seat of the car where the confrontation initially took place and pulls away. The suspect on the bicycle watches a fifth person comes and appears to rob the victim as well.

All five suspects left the scene and left the victim on the ground. Before fleeing, video shows one of the attackers kick the victim once more.

According to data, as of Wednesday, August 4th, robberies are up 3 percent in the city with 1,049 being reported compared to 1,013 in the same time frame in 2020.

Amid an increase in violence across the city, a 31-year-old teacher and father of four was killed on Saturday, July 31st. The victim, Kervin Sanchez, was a teacher at Hope Tolson. His death comes as the city struggles to keep a grip on public safety.

Marvin Moore, a longtime friend of Sanchez, told Fox News’ Steve Doocy that the current climate in the city is “very troubling.” He added:

It’s very worrisome to not be able to predict whether or not your loved one or your family member is going to return home to you after leaving outside of the house.”

He stated:

“We are in very devastating times and this is unlike anything that I’ve seen in my entire time growing up here in D.C.”

In an effort to combat the rise in violent crime in D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser proposed an $11 million package to hire 170 new officers to bolster the city’s police force.

However, the package that the city council approved only allocates $5 million for new officers.

In a recent statement, Bowser said:

“We need what we need. We need to hire officers as soon as we can and we need the council to understand that.”

In the month of July, D.C. reported three times more homicides than deaths from COVID-19, raising questions around the city’s priorities. Moore said:

“As a community, as a city, we have to figure it out. We have to find a way to create a better resolve. Look for alternative solutions to problem solving.”

He added:

“Something that has to be done that doesn’t leave us having to do interviews about people who’ve passed or about lives that have been lost, especially for people that have such an astounding impact on their community.”

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