At Mac’s Convenience Store on North Main Street in Rutland, a man wearing a hoodie and a bandana entered the store and threatened the clerk with a knife. The clerk pulled a gun and was later suspended for violating store policy.Don Pitaniello said Monday he’s been suspended from his job as a clerk at a North Main Street convenience store after drawing a gun on a knife-wielding robber Sunday night.
Pitaniello, 58, of Rutland, said he was preparing to close up Mac’s Convenience Store at 145 North Main St. before 9:30 p.m. when a man wearing a hoodie and a bandana over his face entered the store and threatened him with a roughly 5-inch blade.
“I looked up when I heard the doorbell chimes and saw the hoodie, the bandana, and a bag in his hand,” Pitaniello said Monday. “He walked up to the counter, laid the knife on it and said ‘Empty the register.’”
But the Vietnam veteran, who said he has carried a gun all his life, said he had his .380-caliber handgun in his grasp and behind his back before the unidentified intruder made it to the counter.
“I knew his intentions as soon as he came in,” Pitaniello said. “When he told me to empty the register, I cocked my head and said ‘Really?’”
At that point, the clerk said the man picked up the knife and “waved it in my face.”
Pitaniello said he responded by raising his gun and pointing it at the other man’s face.
“I told him he better get the (expletive) out of there,” he said.
Without a word, the intruder fled the store on foot and Pitaniello said he followed far enough to see the man running west on North Street.
During the brief exchange, Pitaniello said he prevented a robbery but violated several of his store’s policies, including a prohibition on bringing firearms to work and following an armed robber from the store.
Pitaniello said the incident could cost him his job but he doesn’t regret his actions.
“That store has been robbed eight or nine times and I always work nights,” he said. I’m a firm believer in having a gun and not needing it rather than the other way around. I can always find a new job.”
A manager at Mac’s in Rutland could not be reached Monday evening.
The attempted robbery represents the second time in a week that an assailant armed with a knife has demanded money from convenience store clerks in the city.
At 11:30 p.m. on Thursday a man wearing a blue hoodie and a blue bandanna over the lower part of his face and brandishing a knife entered the Mobil gas station and convenience store at the intersection of West Street and Ripley Road and demanded money. He fled with an undisclosed amount of cash.
Police investigators didn’t say Monday if they believed the incidents on Ripley Road and North Main Street were carried out by the same person.
Anyone with information about the armed robberies is asked to call city police at 773-1816.
@rutlandherald.comMORE IN Local & StateAlthough the sky started to cloud up around 2 p.m. Full StoryA look at the week back and the week ahead. Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day 1739, 'Richard Palmer' identified in prison at York Castle as the notorious outlaw DICK TURPIN; IN 1836, Battle of the Alamo begins near San Antonio de Bexar, Texas; 1896, the Tootsie Roll invented by LEO HIRSCHFELD.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1472, Orkney, Shetland islands put up as collateral by Norway to Scotland in lieu of dowry for MARGARET OF DENMARK on her marriage with JAMES III, king of Scotland; 1962, JOHN GLENN first American to orbit Earth.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: City mayoral candidates debate campaign issues; Hartford, Conn., woman still missing; Neal Goswami reports attempts to legislate suicide; local woman loses 100 pounds through TOPS program.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1878, JOHN TUNSTALL murdered near Lincoln, New Mexico, by the outlaw JESSE EVANS; in 1930, ELM FARM OLLIE first cow to fly in aircraft, first to be milked airborne; 1955, nuke test WASP; '79, snow in Sahara.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Rutland Herald News Editor Alan J. Keays and staff writer Gordon Dritschilo discuss stories planned for the February 18, 2015, edition of the newspaper: Winter budgets maxed, legal marijuana, Springfield bank job, USPS slowdown
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1249 AD, ANDRE of LONGJUMEAU is dispatched by LOUIS IX of France to meet the KHAGAN, ruler of the Mongol Empire; in 1804, during 1st Barbary War, STEPHEN DECATUR scuttles the pirate-held USS Philadelphia in Tripoli.