Mount Sterling, OH – A Mount Sterling gas station owner surprised an armed thief when he pulled out his own gun and fired it to protect himself and his livelihood (video below).
The incident occurred just after 10:30 p.m. on Jan. 10 in the BP gas station in Mount Sterling owned by Raj Patel, WBNS reported.
Surveillance video from inside the store showed a male customer walked up and put a bag of snacks on the counter and then walked away again as if to grab additional items.
About 20 seconds later, the suspect re-entered the frame carrying a rifle and shoved in under the bullet-proof barrier protecting the cashier area, the video showed.
Surveillance video from behind the counter showed that as the gunman stood pointing his weapon under the barrier at Patel, the gas station owner remained calm.
Patel put the cap back on his drink, set it on the counter, and then drew his own firearm that had been concealed on his person and pointed it at the armed thief, the video showed.
He fired one shot as the suspect fled, and then he called the police, according to WBNS.
Daniel Alan Collins, Jr. was later arrested in connection with the incident.
The Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office said Collins was accused in at least two other robberies in Fairfield County that have occurred since Thanksgiving, WBNS reported.
Patel said he was defending a community he loves the night of the incident.
“Everybody was talking about it and everyone’s reaction was the same kind of like: ‘you don’t mess with Raj,'” Mount Sterling Chamber of Commerce President Becky Martin told WBNS. “He’s the epitome of a small business, in a small community, and what you can do to really support your friends and neighbors.”
Martin said the popular business owner is very active in the Mount Sterling community.
“He’s even the grand marshal of the parade, the 4th of July one year because he’s that well respected in our community,” she explained.
Patel said he has owned the BP station for the past 23 years and said he had to defend the community he loves, WBNS reported.
“So I just wanted to teach him the lesson that robbing and stealing is not okay,” Patel explained.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below: