RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif. (KCAL/KCBS) – An 80-year-old store owner in California has turned around an attempted robbery suspect armed with what looked like an assault rifle.
Convenience store owner Craig Cope, 80, was ready at 2:45 a.m. Sunday when four would-be thieves entered the store he’s owned since 1967 near San Bernardino.
“It’s not his first rodeo,” Cope employee Marnie Tapia said. “On surveillance, he saw them exiting the vehicle with weapons.”
Strategically hidden behind the counter, Cope pulled out his concealed shotgun and shot a suspect in the arm, surveillance video shows.
After nearly abandoning one of their own, the suspects fled in a black BMW X3. Cope kept an eye on his cameras to make sure they were off.
“I’m proud to call him my boss. It makes us feel better to be here,” Tapia said.
Cope suffered a heart attack following the series of traumatic events, Tapia says, but is expected to make a full recovery. He has already said that he would like to return to work.
Tapia credits the store’s newly installed high-definition security cameras with saving Cope’s life. The 80-year-old put the security system in place due to a recent spike in convenience store thefts.
“The sheriff came in and warned me about eight months ago that this was happening and to keep an eye out and be careful, be on your guard,” she said.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said the suspects all checked into the hospital. Three of them have been arrested, while the man who was shot is still recovering.
Authorities say the suspects’ vehicle was stolen and they recovered numerous stolen firearms. The suspects are charged with theft and conspiracy. They are being held on $500,000 bail.
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