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Being This Stupid IS Illegal!

, , , , | Legal | December 7, 2020

I have worked with this convenience store chain for about six years, and boy, have I seen a lot of stupidity, but this one really takes the cake.

We all have our home base store. It’s usually the store where we receive all our initial training, and when you’ve proven to be somewhat decent at your job, other stores will add you to their call list for covering sick or holidaying workers.

I have been called into a store I have only worked in a couple of times before, and I am not looking forward to it. The managers don’t like me and the employees treat me like I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth, all because the store I originally started at has a reputation for being snooty. But, a job is a job, so I grit my teeth and agree to come in.

When I arrive, though, the store’s front doors are smashed inward and the service counters look like they’ve barely survived a bomb going off. The manager meets me at the doors and laughs when she sees my expression.

Manager: “Oh, don’t mind the doors; we can still operate. You wouldn’t believe what happened here over the weekend!”

Me: “I’m sure I can’t guess. This side of town is insane on the best of days. So… what happened?”

Manager: “Come on in. We’ll get you clocked in and I’ll explain on the way.”

As I gingerly enter the store, I notice more destruction I didn’t see from the doors: a big section of wall opposite the doors is just gone. It’s been forcibly ripped from the rest of the wall. There’s some serious damage to the floor below with four snapped-off pieces of rebar poking through the concrete below the tiles. It is wrapped with tape and there are makeshift signs surrounding it to keep customers from hurting themselves on it. I vaguely remember that an ATM used to occupy that space and I ask about it on our walk to the office.

Manager: “We had an attempted robbery in the middle of the night; there used to be an ATM there, but it’s been, uh… relocated.”

She starts giggling and ushers me to the back room where the office sits, pointing to a severely damaged ATM that has definitely seen better days. This thing is MANGLED! The screen is spiderwebbed with cracks, the cash dispenser flap has been torn off, the buttons are either missing, jammed in, or scraped to buggery, and the bottom half is somewhat twisted. I stand in shocked silence for a moment or two, just taking in the extent of the damages and wondering how in heck this happened. The assistant store manager then pops her head out of the office and smiles warmly, beckoning us both over to the security screens set up.

Assistant Manager: “She hasn’t told you what happened yet, right?”

Me: “Umm, no, not yet. Just that it was an attempted robbery.”

Manager: “I haven’t given away the juicy bit, no. Go on and play the tape.”

The security footage shows a group of four young adults or older teens, all dressed in hoodies and masks, ramming the front doors in at speed with a stolen four-wheel drive. The vehicle makes short work of the doors but the momentum carries them into the service counter where the car’s bonnet manages to jam itself under the counter ledge. The next few minutes shows the robbers trying in vain to wrench the vehicle back out, but it is stuck tight. They leave. The footage is wound forward about fifteen minutes or so, and they are back with another stolen vehicle; this time it’s a four-door family sedan.

They drive the car straight through the doorway, past the stuck four-wheel drive, and three robbers disembark. One goes to the front to keep lookout, the other two pull a big, heavy-duty chain from the boot of the car and proceed to wrap it around the ATM.

The next ten minutes is of the car trying its darndest to pull the ATM from the wall, but due to the rebar in the floor, the ATM isn’t budging. They start ramming it with the car until the wall blows out and the ATM is now free-standing.

The manager and assistant manager are in tears, stifling their laughter by this point, and I’m just mesmerised by the footage. It almost looks like a low-budget, boganised version of a “Three Stooges” episode.

Finally, the ATM breaks free of its foundation and the car is able to drag it through the store, out the busted doors, and into the carpark. We switch cameras to the outside and continue the show. The robbers are all whooping and congratulating each other on a job well done; without audio we can’t hear them, but the gestures and the jumping around is easy enough to interpret.

Then, the lookout, whom I had almost forgotten about, runs back into frame, pointing behind him and looking agitated. The robbers all look in that direction and become frantic. The ATM is quickly — and decidedly ungracefully — loaded into the back seats, but in their haste, none of them close the door properly. The car does a celebratory burnout and donut in the car park as the flashing lights of a police car become visible on the camera facing the far end of the carpark. The ATM flies straight out the unsecured car door and the would-be robbers fly out of the carpark without anything to show for their heist.

I dissolve into a fit of laughter alongside the managers and it takes about twenty minutes for us to stop. With tears in our eyes and a new friendly rapport between us, we all go out to the ATM’s old location to let me get a proper look at the damage.

It is pretty impressive; the store really shouldn’t be operating, but the new owner of the franchise is singularly money-focused and demanded the store continue business as usual. Customers are all gawking, as well. I turn to look out the front doors, following the tire marks’ progress, when I see a group of young adults or older teens hovering in the doorway, pointing at the damages and laughing. 

They were arrested shortly thereafter. The idiots had not only returned to the scene of the crime, but all of them were wearing the same outfits they had on during the robbery! Sadly, I didn’t get to work in that store again, but the management was friendly from then on out. It’s amazing what can bring employees and upper management together.

It was a shift I will never forget and a story worth its weight in gold, unlike the ATM. Apparently, once enough damage is done to a machine, it locks itself down and you cannot get into its money cache without a very specific tool only the owners of the machine itself have in their possession. Even if they hadn’t left the door open in their getaway scene, the ATM would have been worthless to them!

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