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A Subway restaurant is shown in New York City. In Illinois, police are investigating an incident at a Subway in Rockford in September 2021.

A Subway restaurant is shown in New York City. In Illinois, police are investigating an incident at a Subway in Rockford in September 2021. (AP / Mark Lennihan, File)

 By Garion Frankel  October 23, 2021 at 9:02am

An employee at a Subway restaurant in Rockford, Illinois, recently showed an aspiring criminal, who was armed and trying to rob the restaurant, who’s boss.

According to multiple news reports, employee Araceli Sotelo feared for her life but saw an opportunity to fight back against the evil-doer in an incident last month.

“He kind of just showed me his gun, and I was like freaking out like, ‘Woah, you can’t do that, please leave,’” Sotelo told WTVO-TV in an article published on Sept. 12.

“(He said) ‘Give me all the money,’ and I said, ‘I do not have any money, like, I do not have any money.’ That is all I had, and he was just like, ‘Give me everything before I hurt you.’”

For Sotelo, the last straw was when the would-be criminal attempted to grab her purse. That’s when she decided to fight back.

“He was smaller than me, so I have that advantage. I’m bigger than him, so I could at least put my weight on him, push him, or something,” she said.

Sotelo told WTVO she was able to knock the potential criminal’s gun — and some of his clothing — to the floor. When he offered her purse back, she smacked him.

“He dropped (the gun) trying to hold on to my purse, and I end up pulling his sweatshirt off him and I was like, ‘Show your face, show your face, you are on camera,’ and he was like, ‘Here, you can have your purse back; just give me back my stuff.’ He wanted me to give him back his gun and clothes,” Sotelo said.

“I just hit him on the head with it, that is what he was doing to me.”

Have you ever stepped in and stopped a criminal?

A video of the incident was posted on Twitter. But Sotelo has been suspended from her job in the aftermath of it.

“I get a call yesterday (from Subway); it was, like, ‘If every one of these videos are not taken offline, you will be suspended,’ and then I texted them and I’m like, ‘How long am I suspended for?’ They said till everything is removed online. I have no ability to do that,” Sotelo said, according to WTVO.

Sotelo said she did not leak the video. She also said the owner of the Subway she works at is ignoring her.

“They did not want anyone to know; they wanted to be private that it happened to me and that I fought back, but I think they did that because they do not want corporate to know,” Sotelo said.

WTVO said it tried to contact the Subway owner several times but has not heard back. The outlet said police are investigating, and the video is being used as evidence.

In a written statement reported by The Associated Press, Subway’s corporate office said it is “deeply concerned about the recent incident at a franchised location in Rockford, Illinois.”

“The restaurant owner and management are fully cooperating with the police investigation, and we request patience until that process is complete,” the statement continued.

Sotelo told WTVO the would-be robber did not steal any money from Subway, but he did take her purse and broke her phone.

Most online commenters were extremely supportive of Sotelo. One said that if you see an opportunity to stop a criminal, you should take it.

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) – A local Subway worker has been suspended after defending herself during an attempted robbery. The incident happened Sunday morning at the restaurant located at 1120 East State Street. Subway employee Araceli Sotelo said she was scared for her life! 👀👂🏾 pic.twitter.com/G8ONnxXaiJ

— Charlie Luster Street Fights (@LusterFights) September 11, 2021

That place will lose money. I understand as a business owner, it’s not worth your life or the customers in the store. But damnit, if you have the chance to overtake the criminal, do it. My employees will always be allowed to carry provided they have the permit and training.

— Raymond Gerber (@NC_RayGerber) September 13, 2021

She did the right thing. Save her job. Dude was hella wrong

— Antonio Johnson (@twanzetta40) September 11, 2021

This woman is a Hero.!!!

— Gregory M Smith (@gmsmith115) September 13, 2021

All in all, it is abundantly clear that in the end, most criminals are cowards. Give them any resistance, and they crumble like cornbread.

Sotelo is a hero and should be treated as such. Shame on Subway for penalizing her for standing up for herself.

Garion Frankel is the senior policy advisor for the Texas Federation of College Republicans. He enjoys and has published articles and academic works on public policy, philosophy and political theory.

Garion Frankel is the senior policy advisor for the Texas Federation of College Republicans. He enjoys and has published articles and academic works on public policy, philosophy and political theory.

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