Suspected serial robber nabbed because store owner fights back - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Suspected serial robber nabbed because store owner fights back

Lawton_A Lawton convenience store owner refused to be a victim on Thursday morning.  Simon Smith, owner of Smitty's Toot and Tote at NW 13th and Cache Road, fought off an armed man who tried to hold up his business.  Police say the would-be robber even fired a shot inside the store, but that was not enough to stop the owner from doing everything he could to save his hard-earned cash.

Smith said he had been robbed a few times during the 17 years he has owned the store. Most of the time the surveillance video eventually led to the capture of the bad guy, but this time Smith did the work himself.  He said he was reading the newspaper about 8:30 a.m. when a man wearing a ski mask and dressed in black walked into the store.  He pointed a gun at Smith and demanded cash, but Smith refused.

"I grabbed the gun and we started fighting over the gun," said Smith.  "And he hit me... and then I ended up getting the pepper spray and spraying him, and he ran into a back room and came out shooting."  

Smith said the would-be robber then pisto-whipped him and fired at least one shot before making his getaway without any cash.  "He had a car on the side of the building...then he drove off.  I couldn't see him because I had pepper spray somewhat in me."

Police did find the car and suspect they were seeking at an apartment complex just a couple of blocks away. They say Smith drove to the scene and took a good look at the suspect.  Smith told them that it was the man he had encountered in his store.  Investigators identified the suspect as 24-year old Kevin Thomas, and detectives said he admitted to the crime during an interview.

Smith stressed, "Being my money, you're not going to get it that easy, that's how I look at it.  You're at least going to have to shoot me, that's how I look at it."

Wednesday evening, police say Kevin Thomas confessed to 4 other recent business robberies. They include Don's EZ-Shop, the Dolly Madison Bakery, the Hot-Wok Chinese Restaurant and last Friday's Taco Mayo hold up.

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