LINDEN, NJ - The owner of a New Jersey delicatessen thwarted a would-be robber by dousing the man in hot oil.
According to a police report, the armed robber entered Cos’s Corner Deli on East Elizabeth Ave around 2 p.m. Monday afternoon. He was wearing a hooded windbreaker pulled up to cover his face, and brandishing a gun.
The suspect, described as a dark-skinned man in his 20s, signaled for the store owner, 46-year-old Harry Bains, to be quiet. Bains stayed quiet all right, slipping into the back while the thief began trying to pull the register from it’s cubby-hole.
“The pan was there. I put on the fryer, and put the hot oil on and threw it at him,” Bains said. “And that’s when he got a little surprised, and he ran out right away.”
Bains estimated that the oil was about 400 degrees.
“To tell you, frankly, I don’t know what was going inside my mind at that time,” he said. “I just did it.”
Officers canvassed the area, but were unable to locate the suspect. Police Capt. James Sarnicki told the Daily News that area hospitals were put on notice about a potential burn victim. A customer, Matt Crawford, saw the surveillance video on TV.
“I was getting all fired up,” said Crawford. “I didn’t know it was my man over here though. It was great. Fantastic. Good for him.”
“A lot of these convenience store owners, they work 16, 18 hours a day. They work very hard for their money,” said Sarnicki.”They’re just not likely to give it up to anybody who comes walking into their store looking to rob them.”
Despite the danger of taking on a gunman with the contents of the fryer, Bains said he was glad he took action.
Despite the hot oil bath, the armed robber remains at large. Police were hoping the suspect would show up at a local hospital like a crispy critter, in need of treatment, but the video shows the oil hitting mostly the suspect’s jacket, not his flesh.
It”s possible the would-be thief is in hiding, or seeking treatment elsewhere. So, if you’re in Jersey and see a guy walking around looking like Cameron Vail at the end of Scanners, give cops a shout.Tags: Burning, Crime, Harry Bains, New Jersey, oil, Robbery