Rockford, IL – A Subway restaurant employee said she was suspended from her job after she fought off an armed robber while working inside the sandwich shop earlier this month (video below).
The incident occurred at the Subway located at 1120 East State Street at approximately 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 5, according to the Rockford Scanner.
Store surveillance footage of the armed robbery attempt was posted to Facebook after being leaked to the news outlet and a portion of the clip has since been shared by a TikTok account belonging to the employee, Araceli Sotelo, TMZ reported.
“A man came into my job and tried to rob me,” Sotelo captioned the TikTok footage.
The video showed Sotelo screaming at the armed suspect as he walked behind the counter and the two began to physically fight.
“He kind of just showed me his gun, and I was like freaking out like, ‘woah you can’t do that please leave,’” Sotelo later told WJW. “[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.’”
“Get out!” she yelled repeatedly in the video. “You’re not getting my purse.”
Sotelo also warned him she was calling the police.
She fought back fiercely against her attacker, the video showed.
“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,” Sotelo told WJW.
As the brawl spilled out into the dining area, Sotelo appeared to bash her attacker in the head and pulled his sweatshirt off.
The gunman lost his grip on the gun at one point, but Sotelo was able to take it away before the suspect fled with her purse, TMZ reported.
Sotelo said the masked man got away with her identification, credit cards, and everything else that was inside her bag.
He also allegedly broke her phone during the fight.
On Sept. 10, Sotelo shared an update that she was suspended from her job after video footage of her fighting off her attacker was shared widely online, FOX News reported.
She claimed she was not responsible for leaking the footage, but said her manager told her she won’t be paid and cannot come to work until the video is totally scrubbed from the internet, according to TMZ.
“I get a call yesterday it was like, ‘if every one of these videos are not taken offline you will be suspended,’” Sotelo told WJW. “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.”
Subway did not confirm or deny the status of Sotelo’s employment when questioned, but the company did release a statement about the incident, Fox News reported.
“We are 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 spokesperson wrote. “Every restaurant is independently owned and operated. We are in contact with the franchisee to better understand the situation and assist as needed.”
Sotelo’s mother established a fundraising campaign to help cover her daughter’s lost wages and attorney fees, according to the fundraising page.
Donors have contributed more than $15,000 so far.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. Warning – Graphic Content and Obscene Language:
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