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Home Medway News Article
A terrified Gillingham shopkeeper held a machete-wielding robber captive while waiting for police to arrive – by locking him inside.
Panic-stricken Sasi Kumar was determined to thwart the masked raider when he targeted the Shalu Food and Wine Store demanding cash.
The father-of-two told him to get the money himself and while the robber struggled to open the till, 33-year-old Mr Kumar ran outside and locked the shop door.
The enraged thief, realising he was trapped, tried to escape out the back and, when that failed, started hacking at the door with the machete.
Mr Kumar said: "What he didn't know was that he could have opened the door from the inside so I had to use all my strength to hold on to the handle outside.
"He was literally inches away from me and glass was spraying in my face."
Mr Kumar called the police from his mobile and yelled for help in the street.
Neighbouring traders in Canterbury Street and customers at the Westcourt Arms pub opposite rushed outside.
But, when they saw the robber's menacing figure trying to smash his way out with the blade, they backed off.
Mr Kumar, who has been running the convenience store for two months, said: "I consider myself lucky to be alive.
"I was on my own and stacking shelves at the back. If I had been at the front he could have killed me.
"I was very scared and shaking, but if I had just run out he would have cleared the place. I was not going to let him get away with that."
Eventually, the robber forced his way out and fled towards Windmill Road with just two packets of cigarettes worth about £12.
The robber struck at about 8.45pm on Tuesday, 10 minutes before Mr Kumar's wife, Jayasema, was due to arrive.
"My wife was very scared when she heard what I had done. I don't think I'd do that again..." - shopkeeper Sasi Kumar
He said: "My wife was very scared when she heard what I had done. I don't think I'd do that again. The nerves just kicked in and I thought I just had to do something."
Detectives are linking the incident with another unsuccessful robbery at the Co-op in Albert Road, Chatham, just over an hour earlier.
Two men entered the supermarket at about 7.30pm, demanding money from a cashier, who pressed a panic alarm.
They fled empty-handed and are believed to have run off towards Hilda Avenue after pushing a security guard clear of the door.
Both men were described as white, one was wearing a blue and grey padded jacket, black jogging bottoms with white stripes down the side, a baseball cap and black gloves.
The second man was wearing a blue body warmer with a black long-sleeved top underneath, jogging bottoms, white trainers, stripy black gloves and a balaclava.
A Co-op spokesman said: "The staff members involved were shaken but not hurt and CCTV has been given to the police."
Anyone with information is asked to phone DS Michelle Burgess on 01634 792332, quoting reference XY/1580/14 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.
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