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VIDEO: Robber falls to knees, begs after being locked in store during holdup

HOUSTON – A robber fell to his knees and begged to be released after workers locked him inside the store he was trying to hold up, video released Wednesday by police showed.

The robbery happened at 11:50 a.m. April 17, 2017, at the Latino Cellular store on Hillcroft Avenue near Bellaire Boulevard.

Houston police said John Bell, 22, of Houston, walked into the store, went around the counter and demanded an employee open the cash register. The employee refused and told other employees and customers to get out, police said. Once outside, the employee locked the doors of the store, trapping Bell inside.

Basit Mian, the cell phone store owner, says his wife locked Bell inside while she called police after he went to the back office to look for money.

Mian said he and his wife were fed up because Bell had robbed them two weeks earlier, stealing $2,000, along with seven high-end cell phones, so he knew where to find the cash.

“My wife got my employee and a customer with a baby carriage out of the store real quick and had the store locked,” Mian said.

In the video, Bell was heard panicking once he realized there is no way out of the store. 

“I’m trapped in this (expletive),” Bell said. “I’m going to jail.”

The video showed Bell using a gun to try to shoot the lock, throwing his shoulder into the barred glass of the door and trying to use something he found in the store to jimmy the lock.

Bell eventually realized his efforts to escape were futile, the video showed, and began knocking on the glass, apologizing and begging to be released.

“Please,” Bell said. “I have nothing. Please.”

Mian called his wife is a hero.

“I couldn't believe how much courage she had and she was not scared at all. She was my hero for that day and she has always been my hero  and I am just so proud of,” Mian said. 

At the end of the video, officers could be seen arriving and arresting Bell, who had placed both of his hands on the windows.

Bell was charged with and eventually pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon. He was sentenced to five years in prison.

Houston police said Bell had previously been arrested in connection with an aggravated robbery case in 2015.


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