CVS manager recalls harrowing encounter with robber

CARY, NC (WTVD) -- Friday evening just before 10 p.m., an armed robber entered the CVS store on Green Level Church Road in Cary armed with a gun and demanded cash.

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A manager at the store, who did not want to be identified, told ABC11, "I saw someone walking through the door and I saw him and I thought 'God please let this be a joke', because he had a red bandanna on his face and the hoodie was pulled completely over his face."

According to the manager, the robber cocked the gun and demanded money. However, the elderly clerk at the register was in the middle of a transaction with a customer and could not immediately open the register.

The manager, who is a former military police officer, said the robber became upset when the clerk couldn't hand over the cash.

He identified himself as the manager and told the armed robber, "I'm the person you want and I can open the register."

The manager told the robber that he would have to put the gun down and let the clerk and customer go free. According to the manager, the robber agreed but first wanted the clerk and customer to give up their cellphones.

"Nah man! Ain't nobody giving up any phones. Let them walk out the door," he told the robber.

The suspect agreed to let the clerk and employee leave. However, as the manager walked them all toward the door to go free, the robber turned the gun on the manager.

"Sir, I've been through this before. Can you please just put the gun away," he pleaded. "Just don't threaten my life."

ORIGINAL STORY: Cary CVS manager thwarts robber, takes his gun

The manager recalled the robber saying, "I'm gonna kill you! Let's go," as they headed back toward the register. The two locked eyes and the manager told him, "Get the heck up out my store. One of us is going to die tonight."

Moments later, the manager said he saw an opportunity when the robber turned to the side. He said he kicked the suspect in the back through the store's front doors. "He literally slid three feet from the door and landed on his face," the manager told ABC11. "I got the gun, he picked (himself) up, and run!"

According to the manager, the robber did not see his getaway driver, who was later identified and arrested as 25-year-old Anthony Burton. He ran into The Reserve at Cary Park Apartments community and was soon arrested.

Now, 24-year-old Durham resident Christopher Purnell is facing charges for this robbery as well as ones at other locations.

The manager said CVS policy is to "not deny a robbery" but he said he feels like he didn't deny a robbery, but simply feared for his life and didn't want to see the clerk and customer hurt. He also doesn't regret what happened Friday evening because everyone is still alive.

"I'm still a father today. My kids could have been fatherless. My sister could have been brotherless. So it's just 100 percent worth it," he said.

ABC11 reached out to CVS Corporate, which said: "CVS is fully cooperating with the police in their investigation of this matter. We are not planning to make any changes to the staffing at this store as a result of the attempted robbery."
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