I just froze’: Manitoba Liquor Mart employee assaulted during robbery speaks out

The Winnipeg Liquor Mart employee sent to hospital after being punched in the face during a robbery last week says she was worried she’d be fired if she’d tried to intervene.

In a video posted to her Facebook page Sunday, Randi Chase said she was just 10 minutes into her shift when armed suspects charged into her Tyndall Liquor Mart last Wednesday afternoon.

“All of a sudden, just chaos,” she said of watching one suspect armed with a large knife walk past where she was standing behind the till before another rushed up, demanding cash.

READ MORE: Liquor Mart customer says thieves came in ‘screaming their heads off … You want to get stabbed?’

“I just froze — I was so scared … I couldn’t even attempt to give him the money in the register … I just didn’t know what to do.

“It happened so fast … I still can’t make any sense of it.”

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In surveillance video obtained by Global News and widely shared on social media, the thief can be seen striking Chase in the head.

Police later said the employee who was punched suffered seizures and was taken away by ambulance.

A pair of thieves were caught on video at the Tyndall Park Liquor Mart Wednesday.
A pair of thieves were caught on video at the Tyndall Park Liquor Mart Wednesday. Global News

A 15-year-old male has been charged in the incident and police have said they’re looking for two further suspects.

Chase said this was far from the first time she’d seen her store robbed while she was on shift.

After working at the location for eight months she said the phenomenon was so common she’d just days before talked to her manager about the robberies.

READ MORE: Winnipeg legal expert says victims of Manitoba Liquor Mart thefts could sue

“We are always talking about the theft because it’s always a problem,” she said, adding she’d asked a question she now finds ironic.

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“I asked ‘What is it going to take for the corporation to do something? Are they going to wait until someone gets killed or seriously injured?’

“Meanwhile, as I was saying this, I wasn’t expecting it to be me.”

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In her Facebook video Chase said she and her coworkers are trained not to step in during thefts.

She said they are told they won’t be hurt if they don’t intervene. Those orders, she said, left her frozen in fear when she was confronted by the thief last week.

READ MORE: Winnipeg Liquor Mart to close after brutal assault of employees; ‘secure’ entrance to be built

“So here I am behind the counter, so hopeless, and then minutes later unconscious,” she said.

“We should be protected by our employer — we should be able to protect ourselves.

“That’s not fair — that should not have happened.”

The secure entrance under construction at the Tyndall Park Liquor Mart.
The secure entrance under construction at the Tyndall Park Liquor Mart.

Just hours after the robbery and assault, Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries president Manny Atwal held a press conference to announce new security measures at liquor stores.

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Those measures include new secure entrances at stores where customers will have to show ID before being allowed into the location.

READ MORE: Signs of hope, love posted on Tyndall Park Liquor Mart after attack

Chase is hopeful the changes are enough to keep employees and customers safe.

“They are wanting to stop this now,” she said.

“I pray that no one else will ever have to go through this again.”

Thieves assault Tyndall Park Liquor Mart employees

Thieves assault Tyndall Park Liquor Mart employees

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.