Sales clerk stalls robber

Sales clerk stalls robber

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - "He ended up watching me. I think he had a feeling I was touching something. So I put my hands up here so he wouldn't figure out where my panic buttons were," Christine Aikau said, standing behind the cash register at Rix Island Wear.

The sales clerk shudders to think what could have happened Monday afternoon when she came face to face with a gunman.

"He lifted up his shirt. And he said, 'I'm going to need all your money.' And I said, 'Is this for real?'" she said.

The man showed her a handgun in his waste band. She triggered the store's silent alarm and tried to stall the robber.

"I was just fumbling around, hoping I could keep him here long enough for rescue to come and nab this guy," Aikau said.

Store owner Rick Ralston said the alarm company mistakenly classified the alert as a burglary and not a robbery in progress.

"They just dropped the ball," he said.

Police weren't notified immediately. Meanwhile, inside the store Aikau tried to buy more time, telling the gunman she couldn't open the cash register so he may as well shoot her.

"That's when he pulled it out and said, 'I know you know how to open it. Just open it.' And when he pulled it out I figured he meant business," she said.

The robber scooped out $377 and took off.

"I grabbed the phone. I hit 911. And I'm running after him. And then when I got to the corner I lost the connection. I had the store phone, that's why," she said.

Rix Island Wear doesn't have security cameras but Ward Warehouse got a shot of him.

"Not a clear image, but an image of him running away," Ralston said.

Aikau describes the thief as in his 20s or 30s, six feet tall and thin with a Brazilian accent.

"What was brave of him is somebody could have been in the dressing room, somebody could have been upstairs. He didn't care. Maybe they were watching me all day. Who knows?" she said.

Aikau is the niece of the late Eddie Aikau.  Her ordeal lasted four minutes. It must have felt like forever.

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