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Business owner talks gunman out of robbing store

POSTED March 2, 2012 10:41 p.m.

Local business owner Dale Falkenberg was almost the victim of an armed robbery Friday night. By staying calm and reasoning with the would-be robber, what could have been a violent situation ended peacefully.

Falkenberg, owner of Dale’s Guitar located at 210 E. Olive Ave., was jamming with two young customers at around 7:15 p.m. Friday when a man entered the store dressed all in black and brandishing what Falkenberg said looked like a .45 automatic with a silencer.

“He started yelling, ‘Get on the ground; get on the ground!’ The customers dove to the ground, but I said, ‘No, I’m not going to get on the ground. What do you want?’” said Falkenberg.

The gunman told Falkenberg he wanted the money out of the cash register and safe. Falkenberg said he told the man there was only a 20 dollar bill and four ones in the cash register and the store didn’t have a safe.

“I told him he was robbing the wrong place. We’re a mom-and-pop place. We don’t have any money,” said Falkenberg.

Falkenberg said he then showed the man the store’s sales receipts for the day, which totaled no more than $24.

“I told him, ‘I’ll give you one chance to turn around and leave. I know you must be in a bad place to be doing this, but there’s no money here for you,’” said Falkenberg.

According to Falkenberg, the man then said “I’m sorry,” turned around and ran out the door.

As soon as the would-be robber was gone, Falkenberg said he called the police and made sure the two young customers were okay.

“It seemed like the right thing to do; to calm him down,” Falkenberg said of his actions.

This was the first robbery attempt Falkenberg had experienced since opening the guitar and music store in downtown Turlock five years ago.

“I think it turned out the best way it possible could,” he said.

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