Subway Worker Suspended After Defending Herself Against Armed Robber In Viral Video

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subway restaurant workers

In Rockford, Illinois, a local Subway restaurant was the target of an armed robbery that has now gone viral after security footage circulated online.

Araceli Sotelo was the only person working when a robber came in demanding money, she responded that she didn’t have any, and that was when he brandished the gun and threatened to hurt her if she didn’t give him anything.

The Subway worker was suspended after a video of her fighting a robber went viral.

After surveillance videos and the investigation hit the internet, Sotelo was suspended by her manager.

Sotelo said she was scared for her life, and in the moment, decided to fight — but she didn’t know that it would come back to haunt her once the incident became viral.

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“He kind of just showed me his gun, and I was like freaking out like, ‘woah you can’t do that please leave,'” she said in an interview with WTVO. “[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.'”

As this went on and he kept refusing to leave, he decided to grab Sotelo’s purse from her and that’s when she started 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.

In the scuffle, she was able to kick the gun out of the man’s hand, removing the threat on her life by picking it up.

When the man realized that his gun had fallen, he tried to exchange her purse in return for his gun — an unfair trade.

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“He dropped it trying to hold onto 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 his clothes,” Sotelo said. “I just hit him on the head with it, that is what he was doing to me.”

She says her manager was not impressed with the viral video. 

After the incident occurred, she got a phone call from her manager saying that until all the videos are deleted from the internet, she will be suspended.

She has no ability to do that — once a video is on the internet, it’s almost impossible to take it off. 

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

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In a text conversation that she had with her manager, she asked, “How can I take all the videos down if I haven’t posted any of them?”

When the manager said that they can’t discuss it over text, she replied “I wouldn’t be able to either because you guys are wrong and you know that.”

During the altercation, she lost her purse and everything in it — including her ID and her debit card — and broke her phone, and her manager refuses to compensate her for any of it after defending the store.

Her mother started a GoFundMe to help compensate for the things she lost and afford them an attorney so they can fight the decision made by the higher ups at Subway.

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Isaac Serna-Diez is a writer who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice and politics.