Man in wheelchair comes to aid of threatened clerk
Jon Woodward, ctvbc.ca
Published Tuesday, November 9, 2010 7:54AM PST
A man in a wheelchair is being hailed as a hero after he wrestled a would-be thief to the ground for threatening a Vancouver convenience store clerk.
Larry Skopnik says he was just doing the right thing when he saw the man charge behind the counter of the Food Stop on Commercial Drive.
"Just because I'm in a chair doesn't mean I can't stand up and do what's right," Skopnik told CTV News.
Skopnik has been in a wheelchair since an ATV accident 10 years ago in Chetwynd. He was shopping in the Food Stop on Saturday night when a man tried to pass off a suspicious $50 bill.
The clerk, Cindy Grewal, said the man became enraged when she wouldn't take the money.
"He started using filthy language," said Grewal. "He comes behind the counter and came at me and everything."
Surveillance video shows the man grabbing at some of the counter items and coming at the clerk before she pushes him back.
Skopnik rolled towards the counter and put the would-be thief in a headlock. The pair wrestled for a few seconds, and then Skopnik held the man by the torso until both of them fell to the ground.
"I'm pretty sure I can defend myself," said Skopnik. "Her not getting hurt was the important thing."
Other store patrons held the man until the police arrived several minutes later.
"I didn't know exactly what was going down, but I knew it wasn't right," said one of the patrons, Nick Dubeau.
Police officers arrived after a few minutes and arrested the man.
"Larry's a hero, honest to God," said Grewal. "I think (the thief) learned the lesson the hard way," said Grewal. "He won't come back. He saw the stars. It's a lesson that no good citizens will tolerate that."
Last year a shopkeeper in Toronto was charged with assault and forcible confinement for catching a thief and holding him until police arrived. The charges were later dropped.
Vancouver police say they are not looking at pressing any charges in this case.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Jon Woodward