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Vietnam Vet Stops Robbery With a Gun, Loses Job

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When a knife-wielding robber made his way into a Vermont convenience store, he was not prepared for the Vietnam veteran with a .380-caliber handgun behind the counter.

Don Pitaniello, 58, was just about to close up shop around 9:30 p.m. on Sunday when a man wearing a hoodie with a bandana over his face walked in. He held a 5-inch blade and a bag, which immediately caught Pitaniello's attention.

“Empty the register,” the would-be thief reportedly ordered.

“Really?” Pitaniello replied.

The thief waved his knife in Pitaniello’s face to emphasize his demand, but Pitaniello refused to comply. Instead, he raised his .380, pointed it directly at the robber’s head and demanded that the thief leave.

Without another word, the robber fled from the store. Pitaniello followed the man, who was running, far enough to see that he had headed west on North Street.

Pitaniello admitted to breaking several store policies during the exchange, including a prohibition on bringing firearms to work and following a robber from the store, but was proud to have stopped a robbery.

Altough Pitaniello was suspended for his actions and eventually voluntarily stepped down from his position, the Vietnam veteran says he does not regret his actions.

“That store has been robbed eight or nine times and I always work nights,” Pitaniello said. “I’m a firm believer in having a gun and not needing it rather than the other way around. I can always find a new job.”

The armed robbery was the second to occur this week in the area, though police declined to comment on whether the two were related.

Sources: The Blaze, Rutland Herald,

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