Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Another cash-checking business in Monterey was robbed Friday morning. But this time, the victim, a woman, fought back, firing a gun at the robber, who was armed with two handguns, police said. However, the bullet fired by the business owner apparently did not strike the robber, who got away and was still being sought by law officers this morning.

It happened just before 9 a.m. Friday at the Hair Depot on W. Commercial Ave., the main street in Monterey. The hair salon also includes a cash-checking business which is used by many Perdue Farms employees, police said. Two women, the owner and her sister, were working in the business at the time, and a Hispanic man who is a regular customer was in the store getting his check cashed when a masked man with a pistol in each hand entered and demanded money, according to Putnam Sheriff's Detective Shane Higgenbotham.

The owner of the business was counting out the customer's cash and had just placed $404 on the counter when the robber walked in and shouted, "This is a robbery, this is a robbery," according to Higgenbotham, who interviewed the victims on Friday. The owner said the robber pointed one of his guns at her and one at her customer, and when she shoved the money on the counter toward him, he shouted, "I mean all the money," the detective's report says. The owner then reached down to a drawer under the counter as if to get more cash, but instead, pulled out her own pistol and pointed it at the robber, telling him, "Something is going to happen to one of us," the report says.

The robber, who did not appear to be afraid, told her, "Shoot me." But he did start backing up in the direction of the front door, while keeping his guns pointed at her. As he reached the front door, the owner fired her pistol "and then ducked down in case he returned fire," Higgenbotham said. And though she felt she had fired "right at the robber," the bullet apparently did not strike him, she told Detective Higgenbotham. "After she shot at him, she believes he stopped and she thought he was going to fall, but instead, he grabbed the door handle and exited the store," the report says.....

Leads and suspects have been developed in the current case, and Monterey Police patrol of the city's businesses has been stepped up, Police Chief Bruce Breedlove told the Herald-Citizen this morning. "This is the second robbery of a check cashing business within a month, and we are working on both cases and hope to make arrests," Chief Breedlove said. "We are also putting more patrol attention to all businesses."

He also noted that it is "not a good idea for victims to resist armed robbers." "I know that victims sometimes want to fight back, but it is much safer not to resist," Chief Breedlove said. [Yeah! Just let yourself get shot!]

More here


The crew of a luxury cruise ship used a sonic weapon that blasts earsplitting noise in a directed beam while being attacked by a gang of pirates off Africa this weekend, the cruise line said Monday. The Seabourn Spirit had a Long Range Acoustic Device, or LRAD, installed as a part of its defense systems, said Bruce Good, a spokesman for Miami-based Seabourn Cruise Line. The Spirit was about 100 miles off Somalia when pirates fired rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns as they tried to get onboard.

The subsidiary of Carnival Corp. was investigating whether the weapon was successful in warding off the pirates, he said. The ship's captain also changed its course, shifted into high speed and headed out into the open sea to elude the pirates, who were in two small boats, he said. He had no further details.

Device maker American Technology Corp. said earsplitting "bangs" were directed by trained security personnel toward the pirates. That, combined with ship maneuvers, caused the attackers to leave the area, the company said. The LRAD is a so-called "non-lethal weapon" developed for the U.S. military after the 2000 attack on the USS Cole off Yemen as a way to keep operators of small boats from approaching U.S. warships.

The military version is a 45-pound, dish-shaped device that can direct a high-pitched, piercing tone with a tight beam. Neither the LRAD's operators or others in the immediate area are affected. American Technology, based in San Diego, compares its shrill tone to that of smoke detectors, only much louder. It can be as loud as about 150 decibels, while smoke alarms are about 80 to 90 decibels. The devices have been deployed on commercial and naval vessels worldwide since summer 2003, the company said.


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