Baristas at coffee shop in Spokane, Wash. are now carrying sidearms at work after a recent string of robberies.
Jitterz Java, a drive-thru coffee stand, has been the target of four robberies this year. That led the shop’s owner Sara Chapel to add a few extra security measures to the shop, one of which was encouraging her staff of mostly young women to carry a sidearm.
The most recent robbery attempt occurred on Sunday evening. The robber managed to poke his head in the drive-thru window, but the pistol-packing barista inside pulled out her gun, ducked down and called the police. That was enough to scare the robber away. Now, Chapel wants to make sure there’s always a gun inside the shop for her employees.
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“A couple of them bring handguns every day, no matter what shift it is,” she told KXLY News. “There is always a gun here now.”
Krystal Cogswell is one of Chapel’s employees who brings a gun with her to work. She makes coffee for customers with a .38 Special Lavender Lady holstered on her hip. Cogswell told reporters that having a gun with her at work makes her feel more confident to handle a dangerous encounter.
“Before I never felt an immediate threat, so I would have just have it off to the side or somewhere hidden,” Cogswell said. “But now I feel like if someone can see it, maybe it will just deter it right then and there and I won’t ever have to use it.”
The community and the shop’s customers have been supportive of the girls packing heat at work. Most of them don’t seem to mind. And Chapel said that she hopes other drive-thru coffee stands will jump on board with the idea.
“Five years ago I never thought that we would be an armed coffee stand,” she said. “But I think it’s something more coffee stands need to ban with us on and say, ‘hey we’re going to stop this from being a target.”
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