The defiant owner of an Armagh takeaway says he would do the same again after he tackled a would-be thief late on Sunday evening.
Sohaib Ahmad – popularly known as Ali – of Gringos Mexican takeaway on the Killylea Road suffered a minor stab-related injury as he and a colleague wrestled a knife from the assailant shortly after 10pm last night.
The man, wearing a hoodie, a surgical face mask and gloves, approached a terrified female member of staff claiming to be from the IRA.
He then walked behind the counter and demanded money from the till as an “IRA tax” before attempting to rip it from the counter and flee.
Speaking to Armagh I, owner Ali, said: “I instinctively stepped in front and stopped him from taking the till.
“He tried to lift the till and run away and that’s when I grabbed him. I shouted to my colleague Gary who helped me hold him down and I told the girl to pull the shutter down and phone the police.
“There was a knife sitting on the work surface and he lifted it and tried to stab me with it.
“‘Just let me go or I’ll stab you with the knife’,” is what Ali recalled the assailant shouted in a moment of frenzy.
The attacker then tried to bolt it out the back door but was caught by the two men who were determined not to let him away.
It was at this stage Ali said he felt he got stabbed with the knife.
“We grabbed him again and put him in the toilet,” Ali continued. “We were lucky we got him in there and it wasn’t too long before the police arrived – they arrived within two minutes of the call.”
Both men suffered injuries to their arms. The girl was badly shaken by the incident.
Despite the terrifying ordeal, Ali said he would do the same again.
“Nobody will come in an intimidate us like that,” he said. “I have been working there a long time and never had trouble like this before.
“I was determined not to let him go; if I did then everyone would think they can come and get away with this sort of thing.
“I understand he tried to stab me a couple of times and I was lucky not to have suffered worse.”
He added: “I have never had a fight with anyone in my life; I just work and enjoy my life. I’m serving the community but I can definitely say this fella was not from Armagh anyway.”
Detective Sergeant Stewart said: “During the incident, one of the staff members sustained a minor injury to his armpit / rib cage area.
“The suspect was arrested on suspicion of offences including attempted robbery and possession of an offensive weapon with intent to commit an indictable offence, and is in police custody at this time.
“Detectives are appealing to anyone who may have witnessed the incident, or have any information which could assist them with their enquiries, to contact them on 101 quoting reference number 1894 of 15/08/21.”
A report can also be made online using the non-emergency reporting form via http://www.psni.police.uk/