CLEARWATER — The suspect carried a .38 Special. Two teenage employees at the convenience store had only their moxie and willingness to take a risk.
Score one for moxie and will.
The workers, brothers Ali and Haidar Ateia, 17 and 16, wrested the gun from the would-be robber Saturday night, then locked him inside the Food Mart shop their family runs in Clearwater, according to police reports.
Then they waited until Clearwater police arrived to arrest the suspect, Clarence E. Lampkins, 56, of Clearwater.
"We were nervous at first — when he had a gun there was a chance he could shoot someone," said Haidar, who was back at work Sunday with his father as others in the store chattered about the ruckus.
Lampkins was being held on $77,500 bail Sunday at the Pinellas County Jail. He is charged with carrying a concealed firearm, possession of cocaine, robbery, felonious possession of a firearm, battery and possession of a firearm while committing a felony.
About 7 p.m., Lampkins arrived in the store, 1208 N Fort Harrison Ave., and pulled a four-pack of beer from a cooler, according to an arrest report.
The brothers were suspicious — especially when he adjusted something on the right side of his waist. They spoke in Arabic to each other that they might be robbed, an arrest report said.
Under Lampkins' sweater was a black revolver with six rounds in a nylon holster, police said.
The gun was pulled, but Ali grabbed it from him, said Haidar, who said he assumes Lampkins was seeking cash from the register Ali was running.
Haidar said he then took the gun to their nearby home. Their father, Tawfiq, 44, — who already happened to be on his way — arrived, and they locked Lampkins inside the store for police.
David DeCamp can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8779.