Shopkeeper foils robbery attempt in Puhi

Kaua’i’s finest had a little help in crime-stopping last weekend when a would-be robber wielding a crowbar was stopped by a neighboring shopkeeper.

At approximately 9:15 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, police responded to a call in the parking lot of Thrifty Mart regarding two men in a fight in the convenience store’s parking lot.

The man attempting the break-in entered through the store’s rear screen door while the two night-shift workers were closing up for the night, according to police.

Hearing women’s screams, the owner of an adjacent shop in the same building ran around to the back and tackled the robbery suspect. The suspect was demanding money from the cashiers and holding a crowbar, police reports confirmed.

That shop owner subdued the robber and took off his ski mask. The three recognized the man as Kenneth Gross, of Puhi, a customer of Thrifty Mart.

By the time police responded, Gross had run off and jumped over a wall at the side of the store, with nearly a 15-foot fall near the roadway, but police caught up and he was arrested in connection with the robbery.

Clyde Nada, owner of Thrifty Mart Inc., confirmed that Saturday’s attempted robbery was the first incident since the Puhi store opened four years ago.

“I was just fortunate that someone was in the building to help us,” Nada said. Gross is scheduled to appear in court today.

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