Customers confront suspect in Burlington store robbery
Posted September 1, 2014
Burlington, N.C. — Chelsea Douglas was working behind the counter late Sunday at a Kem Co convenience store on Graham-Hopedale Road in Burlington when a masked man came in and tried to rob her.
“I was scared for my life. I froze,” she recalled. “I was definitely terrified.”
Douglas said the suspect was pointing a gun at her when another man inside the store grabbed the would-be robber’s hand, knocking him on the ground. The two started wrestling, and two other men jumped in.
One of those men was Lejuan Miles.
“I’d do it again in a minute,” said Miles, who lives right behind the store and said he saw the suspect moments before the attempted robbery.
“I guess he saw us out back. He just turned around and crunched down and went around, and that’s when I was like, ‘Something’s not right,’” he said.
Miles walked around to the front of the store and saw what was going on inside.
“I just grabbed him – mopped (the floor with) him from one end of the store to the other end,” Miles said.
The glass on the front door of the store shattered during the scuffle. The robbery also shattered a piece of Douglas' faith in humanity.
"Once the cops got there and the guy was unmasked and I saw him – I know him,” Douglas said. “I was like, ‘Wow.’"
Burlington police identified the suspect as 33-year-old Michael Andrea Donaldson and said he was armed with a small caliber semi-automatic handgun. He was charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon, possession of a firearm by a felon and injury to real and personal property.
Douglas said Donaldson is a regular at the store.
"He actually looked at me when the cops were putting him in the car and he said, ‘You know me?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I know you and that's the worst part. And when you are a few cents short, I tell you it's OK,’” she said.
Douglas is grateful that she is unhurt, and she’s grateful to the men who came to her rescue.
“There are no words,” she said. “Just thank you.”