The Best Armed Robbery Story You’ll Hear This Week

On Wednesday April 17th, 2013, Phillip Steinberg attempted to rob a pizza place in Spring Hill, Florida. Phillip, claiming to be on a booze run, borrowed his friend’s Mitsubishi and drove to Village Pizza. After donning a ski mask and gloves, he entered the restaurant, brandishing a knife and screaming for the woman behind the counter to give him money. Yet, to Phillip’s surprise, he was not met with terror and cash, but with laughter and the word “no”. Confused, thinking maybe the woman had misunderstood, Phillip hollered once more for her to give him money. Once again, she laughed and said, “No.” The woman later admitted to police that she thought the robbery was a joke. Either way, Phillip must have been pretty baffled by her reaction, because he fled the scene while stupidly removing his ski mask, allowing a second Village Pizza employee a good look at his face. Meanwhile, a passing motorist noticed Phillip fleeing the scene, tailed him back to his friend’s house and notified the police. Upon their arrival, the police found both the ski mask and the knife in Phillip’s possession. Phillip Steinberg was arrested on a charge of armed robbery, merely twelve minutes after setting foot inside Village Pizza. He is now being held without bail, given that his attempted robbery was in direct violation of his parole.

Guys, I am so jealous of everyone involved in this story. It has been a lifelong dream of mine to catch a bad guy and these people, especially the woman who thought it was a joke and laughed in his face, are living that dream. The closest I’ve ever gotten is one summer during high school when I worked at CVS and almost caught a shoplifter. I was nearing the end of my shift, minding my business and cleaning up the baby aisle, when a dude walked by wearing a humongous trench coat. I instantly knew this guy was up to no good, that coat was way too warm for the climate and he had sketchy written all over his face. This was my shot. After sixteen long years on this planet, I was finally going to catch a bad guy.

I had to play it cool, though, I’d waited a long time for this and I didn’t want to blow it. So I casually continued to dust the diaper aisle, while slowly moving in closer. When I was within range, I glanced over in his direction and there he was, past the bottles and Johnson & Johnson, piling baby formula into his trench coat. I acted quickly and according to my extensive CVS Employee Handbook, which instructed us never to confront shoplifters verbally or physically, but to simply smile at them and make them aware of our presence. So, I turned to this trenched up bad guy and I smiled. Within seconds of spotting my goofy grin, he was running past me, down the aisle and toward the door. He knew I meant business.

I followed him down the aisle, keeping a safe distance, waving my arms to get my shift manager’s attention. It was no use, the guy was already halfway out the door before anyone even realized what I was doing. It looked like the bad guy was gonna get away. But then, out of nowhere, one of the customers threw his Tide and toothpaste to the ground and took chase. He was a man of action, who was clearly unfamiliar with the CVS Employee Handbook, which explicitly told us never to chase a customer outside the store. Anyway, so this dude was running as fast as he could after the thief. Per typical mob mentality, everyone in the store ran out to watch. The customer chased him through the parking lot, down the street and into a field. The weight of the baby formula combined with the heat of the jacket must have started weighing on the bad guy, because Tide Guy was gaining on him fast. He was within feet of him when, all of a sudden, he launched forward and DOVE at him. Full on Superman dive. His hands grasping the coat as his heroic body hit the ground. Trench Coat, who did not see that coming, stumbled, threw off the jacket and sprinted off into the woods. Moments later, the customer returned with the abandoned coat, FIFTEEN containers of baby formula and all the glory that could have been mine.

After the police arrived and surveyed the security footage, I asked if they needed me to go down to the station to give an official statement. They were uninterested. Apparently they only needed one employee statement and the shift manager sent my coworker Tiffany. Tiffany, who was always so busy flirting with the photo lab guy that she probably didn’t even see anything, got to go ride down to the police station in a squad car and give an official statement, while I had to go back to dusting the diaper aisle. It was so totally unfair. He was my bad guy and I didn’t even get my name in the police report.

So, yeah, I hope that pizza place girl and passing motorist realize how lucky they are. Not only did they get to catch a bad guy, they got to do it in one of the coolest ways possible. That girl literally laughed in the face of danger and that dude got to tail someone. What I would give to have the opportunity to tail someone.