WABC-TV(PATERSON, N.J.) — Dramatic surveillance video caught the moment a quick-thinking store clerk outsmarted two alleged robbers by sneaking out a back door and pulling down the store’s security gates to trap them in.
The incident happened Wednesday afternoon at a Boost Mobile store in Paterson, New Jersey, according to store clerk Tommy Torres.
“Two guys came in and, at first, I thought they were pulling a prank or something,” Torres told ABC News Friday. “But then one guy came to the back and pointed a gun at me.”
That moment was caught on the surveillance video obtained by ABC News Friday.
“They asked me, ‘Where’s the iPhones and Galaxies?’ and I told them, ‘We don’t have those, but you can take whatever phone on the wall that you want or anything in the cash register,'” Torres said.
While the men began going through the register, Torres sneaked out a back door, he said.
Torres then pulled down a security gate in front of the back door and a security gate in front of the store’s main entrance, trapping the men inside, he said.
“I called the police several times saying there was a robbery in progress and that there was a man with a gun inside,” Torres said. “But 30 to 40 minutes passed and there was no police.”
A crowd had gathered in front of the store, and many were watching and laughing at the men trapped inside, according to Torres. He added that several people in the crowd also called 911 and many were wondering what was taking so long.
“Cops eventually came like 45 minutes later, but the robbers had already found a tool in my back office and had escaped from a back window,” Torres said. “They left the phones, but they got away with about $100 in cash.”
One cop explained to Torres that a dispatcher said the call was only a shoplifting incident, so they didn’t think it was that urgent, he said. He added that the cops left behind the surveillance video he wanted to give to them, and that he has called police about it, but hasn’t heard back.
Paterson Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division is looking into the delayed response time, police director Jerry Speziale told ABC New York City station WABC-TV.
The division is trying to figure out whether the delayed response time was because of human error or callers’ improperly relaying information about the incident, Speziale said.
A Paterson Police Department employee on Friday referred ABC News to Sgt. Anthony Lay, who directed the call to the department’s Office of the Chief.
A spokesman for the Office of the Chief declined to comment to ABC News.
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