Stroudsburg, Monroe County – An armed store employee helped stop a robbery at the Stroud Mall in Monroe County. It started on Craigslist. One person arranged to sell a cell phone to someone in front of the mall. The internet buyer turned out to be a robber who violently tried to steal the phone.
The person selling the phone followed all the usual internet safety advice. They arranged to meet in the middle of the day, in a public place, with lots of people around. Yet, they still got robbed. Shopper Skylar Shepp of Tobyhanna reacted, "Craigslist just creeps me out in general 'cause it's like you don't know these people so you don't know what they are capable of or anything like that."
Stroud Area Regional Police Captain Brian Kimmins said it happened Tuesday afternoon in front of the main entrance to the mall. The robber attacked the person selling the phone with an electric device. Kimmins explained, "It's like a tazer. It's a nine volt battery operated stun gun and started applying it to the victim, took the phone and ran."
Someone who works at a store inside of the mall saw what was going on here and pulled out a gun. The robber saw it and ran off. "The suspect fled the scene into a red Subaru hatchback or an SUV we're not sure with two other occupants,” said Kimmins.
Some called the employee a hero. Others said he put people at risk. Shopper Victoria Goldstein of Tobyhanna said, "You're in a mall full of people and what if the robber would've taken the gun from him and now he have the gun in the mall with everyone. It could have escalated and been a lot worse."
Kimmins said, "I'm not so sure that it's the right thing but it worked out this time."
Kimmins added you should always be careful when arranging meetings online. "With Craigslist it's always like the roll of the dice,” he remarked.
Police are not releasing the name of the man who stopped the robbery. He was carrying his gun legally and did not commit a crime. People who know him say he does not want to be identified because he is afraid he will lose his job for having a gun at work.