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Yasin Sara was robbed at his Y & S Supermarket this past week in Tampa, FLa. Sadly the robbery turned tragic when Sara confronted the gunman and was shot in the chest. Luckily he is expected to recover; he is in critical but stable condition. News accounts quoted a customer stating "He was the type of guy who stood his ground," and "He was going to protect what was his."

Last December, the same newspaper reported an armed robbery of a small locally owned pizza restaurant late at night. The robber stole the contents of the cash drawer at gunpoint; and, while the robber was searching the pizza owner's pants pockets, the owner grabbed the gun. A wrestling match ensued and during the struggle, the gun when off. Luckily neither was struck by the bullet. The robber ran off, leaving behind his ID and cell phone; and he was quickly arrested by police. The photo accompanying the newspaper story showed the smiling pizza shop owner with quotes on how he wasn't going to let thugs take his hard earned cash.

Industry data reports suggest that victims are injured or killed during armed robberies when they resist in one of three ways: They try to run; they grab the weapon or fight the robber; or they produce their own weapon. There may be unintended consequences of portraying the actions of the pizza shop owner as heroic, and suggesting that resisting an armed robber has positive results. Small business owners and their employees need education on preventing robberies and violent crimes and on the proper reactions to avoid tragedy. Comprehensive loss prevention programs include how to protect your assets with the No. 1 asset being your employees. Security and loss-prevention professionals can provide businesses, especially those open to the public late at night, with best-practice solutions to keeping employees and customers safer.

It is unknown whether Sara read the account of the December incident recounting the wrestling match over the gun, or whether he was influenced in any way to confront the robber. Armed robbery is a serious crime perpetuated by dangerous criminals. Many times they are fueled by drugs or desperation. Odds for survival may weigh heavily on considering options and being well trained to make those split- second decisions.

Fighting for what is yours is perhaps instinctive. Being better equipped to make those decisions to survive the encounter of a weapon pointed at you may make all the difference. Imagine how you would feel if one of your employees were injured or killed because they were not trained and reacted inappropriately. Think what life would be like for your spouse, your kids, your mom and dad without you in it, and then plan from there.

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D.B. “Libby” Libhart has more than 30 years of experience in the loss prevention industry. He has provided security and safety leadership in retail settings such as department stores, drug stores and quick-service restaurants. Before launching his own company, LossBusters, Libby served as the Senior Director of U.S. Security and Safety for McDonald’s Corp. He entered the QSR industry with Taco Bell and subsequently YUM Brands.
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