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'I had to save the store': How 61-year-old shopkeeper fought off armed robber

By Carl Jackson | Walsall | Crime | Published:

The shop has already been targeted again - just hours after CCTV of Mr Garcha's heroics was released.

Ajaib Garcha and his daughter Parminder managed to force the masked raider out of the shop

“If I let him take the money I would have had to close the shop.”

That was the dilemma which ran through the mind of an heroic shopkeeper moments before he flung himself at a gunman trying to hold up his store.

Ajaib Garcha said the latest incident at Spend ‘n’ Save in Walsall on Christmas Eve was the third armed raid at the convenience outlet in two years.

The moment the armed robber pointed his gun at Mr Garcha and his daughter.

And as a further kick in the teeth, on Friday the shop was again targeted by thieves when three hooded men stole £200 worth of beer from the storage room while Mr Garcha and his family were upstairs having dinner.

It came within hours of West Midlands Police revealing 61-year-old Mr Garcha’s heroics on Christmas Eve.

The force released incredible CCTV footage showing the shopkeeper and his daughter fighting off the gunman.

WATCH the dramatic CCTV footage:

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Christmas Eve armed robber overpowered by shopkeeper

Mr Garcha has run the store on Pleck Road for a decade and told the Express & Star he felt his business and livelihood were at risk when the masked attacker strode in around 7pm on the night demanding money.

The grandfather-of-one and father-of-two, said: “This is the third time this has happened and all I was thinking was ‘how can I let this happen’.

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“If I let him take the money I would have to close the shop.

"What would I do for work, for my family? We are living on this shop.

"So it was either let him take the money or do what I did.”

Mr Garcha and his daughter Parminder managed to force the suspect out of the shop.

Mr Garcha said two years ago a man tried to rob the shop wielding a knife but fled empty-handed, While last September another knifeman entered the store and got away with £150.

The CCTV footage of the latest incident shows the moment the hooded assailant waved a gun within seconds of entering through the front door and then how Mr Garcha sprang into action grabbing his arm.

The shopkeeper’s daughter Parminder, aged 28, then jumped to his aid and between them they bundled the robber outside.

But the drama continued and Mr Garcha said he chased the suspect across the street and grabbed him by the coat before he eventually got away fleeing towards Wednesbury Road.

He added: “He said ‘give me money’ and then I reacted.

"I hooked my arm under his so the gun was pointed towards the roof.

“I don’t think it was real. My daughter came to help and we managed to get him out.

"I was holding his jacket and he pulled me 40ft away from the shop.

"I fell down on my knee at one point. He started to run away and God knows where I got the energy from but I ran after him and crossed the road.

“People saw him and stopped their car. I caught up with him and managed to pull his mask off. He looked about 22 years old.

"I’m 62, you can guess who was stronger.

"I didn’t know if the people in the cars were with him. I didn’t know how long I could keep him there. In the end he got away.”

The suspect was around 6ft 2ins tall and slim. He was wearing a grey hooded tracksuit.

West Midlands Police has urged any witnesses to call 101.

Carl Jackson

By Carl Jackson
Reporter - @cjackson_star

Senior reporter for Staffordshire and Walsall.

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