CRIME BLOTTER

Store owner prevents robbery by bringing a machete to a knife fight

Feb 15, 2024, 7:10 AM

machete...

Qatamin defends himself from a robbery attempt with a machete. (Photo screenshot of security footage provided by Tacoma Police)

(Photo screenshot of security footage provided by Tacoma Police)

A 70-year-old store owner fended off a knife-wielding robber by brandishing his own store’s defense system — a really big machete.

Naif Qatamin, the store owner, and his wife run Selena One Market in Tacoma. The business has been robbed before, with Qatamin using a stick for protection. A year ago, he upgraded to a machete, slotted right next to the register.

More on WA crime: Two carjacking suspects arrested after evading police with multiple stolen cars

On Feb. 5, the store’s upgraded defense came in handy when a pocketknife-wielding robber walked to the register and announced, “This is a robbery. Do you understand?”

Qaatamin understood, and from behind the counter, pulled his machete while saying, “That’s not a knife, this is a knife.”

Most machetes range from 10 to 28 inches, with 18 inches being the most common length, according to Machete Specialists, whereas a pocketknife can only have a blade up to three inches in length.

“He backed up there,” Qatamin told KIRO Newsradio. “He was shocked and fell down right there.”

The suspected robber ran from the store, but was later caught by police. The next day, he was released from jail and returned to the store.

“He stood right there by the door and said ‘I’m going to come back, rob you and kill you.’ I said ‘One step inside and I’m going to fix you up.’ He put his foot down right there and I hit him right here,” Qatamin said, pointing to his chest.

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Police discourage robbery victims from resisting, advising business owners and other victims to just give up the cash out of safety. Just don’t expect that from Qatamin.

“Me scared? No! He was scared,” Qatamin said in response to whether he was scared over the incident or not.

You can read more of James Lynch’s stories here. Follow James on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email him here.

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