Cigarette Store Owner Takes Gun AND Knife Away From Would-be Robber

Anchorage, Alaska, 7:20 p.m. Thursday – Young Jun, the owner of “Smokes 4 Less,”, a cigarette store in Anchorage, had no idea the woman who came into her store was going to rob her. The woman pretended to shop for a bit, then suddenly Jun was confronted with a gun the woman had pulled out of her purse.

 cigarette store owner

Screen shot of Young Jun, the cigarette store owner who disarmed a robber

Cigarette Store Owner with guts

The woman demanded the money out of the cash drawer, and Jun stepped back away from it.

“Is the gun real?” Jun asked.

“Yes, yes!” The woman, Tonya Holler, 33, replied as she pointed it at Jun’s face.

Anchorage Daily News wrote,

“The owner put her hands up and stepped back from the counter,” [Police Spokeswoman] Oistad reported. “Holler came around the counter and began taking money from the cash drawer. The owner grabbed the weapon and attempted to control it. They struggled but the owner eventually took the gun and threw it out onto the store floor.”

At that point, Oistad said, Holler pulled a large hunting knife from her purse and “attempted to stab the owner.”

“The owner grabbed the knife as well and they struggled for some time over control of the knife,” Oistad wrote. “The owner gained control of the knife, threw it out on the store floor, and then pinned Holler against the countertop.”

After the owner triggered the store’s silent alarm and yelled for help, people from nearby businesses entered the store and helped restrain Holler until officers arrived.

Wanted on several counts of robbery

The would-be robber is charged with First Degree Robbery and two counts of Third Degree Assault. She was also wanted on other robbery charges from holding up coffee shops.  The owners of the coffee shops had been worried for two months over the series of robberies that Young Jun managed to stop with her bravery. They brought her a big bouquet of flowers to say thank you.

What courage really means

Young Jun  noted that the woman had changed hands when she attempted to grab the money out of the cash drawer, and was holding the gun in the opposite hand. A vulnerable move. She pounced.

Jun didn’t really know how to handle a gun, and the woman didn’t seem scared when she was able to wrestle the gun away from her, so she threw it on the floor.

During the knife scuffle, Jun forced the woman to jam the tip into the back of the display case behind the counter. Then she threw the hunting knife on the floor. Even after the robber threatened her with being killed by accomplices, she said she didn’t feel afraid.

That’s what courage is all about. She took control, and refused to be afraid. Disarming an armed suspect by hand with no experience? Not bad, Young Jun. Not bad at all.