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BOUNTIFUL — It’s not something police recommend that people do, but it worked this time.
Bountiful police said a woman called a would-be robber’s bluff. When he told her he had a gun, she asked him to show it to her.
The man approached the 47-year-old victim Saturday morning in the parking lot of the Smith’s Marketplace, 555 S. 200 West, Bountiful Assistant Police Chief Ed Biehler said.
The man allegedly demanded money and the woman’s purse and threatened that he had a gun.
“She didn’t believe him and said, ‘Pull out your gun,’” Biehler said.
The man reached into his pockets, then turned and walked away.
Witnesses and store workers helped to spot the man, and he was arrested before escaping the parking lot, police said.
Daniel Max Lopez, 32, was booked into the Davis County Jail for investigation of aggravated robbery, theft and retail theft.
Biehler said the woman later acknowledged her reaction to the suspected robber was not the best course of action. The encounter prompted detectives to warn others not to do the same, saying it could lead to an escalation in violence with either the victim or the robber getting hurt.
“It worked out in this case and we’re glad for that,” Biehler said, “but normally we would ask you to just be a good witness to what happened.”
In a similar case, Biehler said, a man might actually be carrying a gun, or the victim may be armed and may pull out a weapon to respond to the robber.
“The police would definitely recommend not doing what happened in this particular case,” Biehler said.
The woman, through police, denied requests to be interviewed.
Other shoppers supported the woman’s decision Tuesday upon learning of the incident, though some admitted they wouldn’t have been so certain what they would have done in such a situation.
“I would either give them my wallet or possibly I have a Taser and I would maybe pull the Taser and tase him and run,” said Echo Mann.
Brody Blood said he believed the woman chose the best course of action.
“I probably would have fought — I don’t like thieves,” Blood said. “If somebody’s not willing to show it, then they probably don’t have it.”
Biehler said complying with a robber’s simple demands is the recommended action in a similar circumstance, though the answer changes if a suspect tries to take someone by force to another location.
While Biehler said there are differing opinions about how a person should respond in that sort of situation, he personally would not let anybody take him against his will.
“I would not be taken away anywhere,” Biehler said. “I would confront the person and let whatever happens happen right there in the public where I don’t get taken away.”