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Police: Concealed permit holder stopped armed robbery of Vernal restaurant

(Uintah County Jail)

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VERNAL — A man with a concealed weapons permit stopped the armed robbery of a Vernal restaurant Sunday, according to police.

A woman armed with a knife entered Arby's, 1141 W. Hwy 40, just before noon and demanded money, Assistant Vernal Police Chief Keith Campbell said.

An Arby's customer, who spoke to the Deseret News on the condition that his name not be used, said he was ordering food at the drive-thru about the same time and noticed the restaurant employee had stopped responding to him.

The man said he parked his truck and went into the restaurant to finish his order. He said when he made eye contact with an employee, she mouthed the words, "We're being robbed."

"I went out to my truck and got my gun," the man said.

When he went back into the restaurant, the man said the woman with the knife turned toward him. He showed her the butt of his gun, he said, and told the woman not to move.

"She picked up a bag and came at me," the man said. "That's when I pointed my gun at her."

The man said he was able to gain control of the woman's knife, but continued to hold her at gunpoint. He said he put his gun down as the first officer entered the restaurant to avoid the possibility of being shot.

I went out to my truck and got my gun.

–Concealed permit holder

Campbell offered the police department's thanks to the man who intervened, but also noted that because personal safety is always a priority for officers "citizens must recognize that any person holding a firearm upon (the officers') arrival is apparently involved until proven different."

Police arrested Stephanie Lee Lente, 37, of Vernal. She was booked into the Uintah County Jail for investigation of aggravated robbery and possession of a controlled substance.

Court records show Lente was charged in Vernal City Justice Court on Jan. 21 with abuse of a psychotoxic chemical solvents and retail theft, both class B misdemeanors. She also has prior misdemeanor convictions for assault, criminal mischief, violation of a protective order and wrongful appropriation, according to court records.



Geoff Liesik


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