- Associated Press - Monday, October 27, 2014

ALEXANDRIA, S.D. (AP) - An Army veteran helped foil a robbery attempt at a convenience store in Alexandria in southeastern South Dakota when he realized the handgun brandished by the robber was actually a BB pistol.

A woman wearing a mask entered the Westown Shell off Interstate 90 on Sunday afternoon, put the pistol against the clerk’s head and threatened to kill her if she didn’t hand over the money in the till.

“All I could think was that I had to stay calm because there were kids in the store,” clerk Diane Bryant told The Daily Republic newspaper (https://bit.ly/1nJA2zK ).

Customer John Henglefelt, an Alexandria resident and military veteran of more than 20 years, said he wasn’t intimidated when he realized the weapon was only a BB gun.

“I knew with the gun she had, she wasn’t going to do much,” he said. “I knew I could take care of that.”

Henglefelt forced the gun away from Bryant’s head and pushed the suspect out the door, where she was subdued by Bryant’s husband and other customers.

“(Henglefelt) came up and said, ‘This is about enough of that,’ and threw (the suspect) out the door,” Bryant said.

Henglefelt said Alexandria is a close community of about 600 people.

“We all know each other,” he said. “You just help your neighbors.”

The Hanson County Sheriff’s Department arrested the woman and her female accomplice, who was waiting in a nearby vehicle. Both are in their late teens and from Minnesota. Authorities did not immediately release their names.

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Information from: The Daily Republic, https://www.mitchellrepublic.com


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