SPOKANE, Wash. - After three robberies in less than a month at Jitterz Java, employees say they're refusing to be victimized anymore and are preparing to pack heat on the job.
Jitterz Java owner Sara Chapel is encouraging her staff members not only to bring their guns, but she's keeping one in the stand just in case.
"I would rather have it and need it, than need it and not have it," Krystal Cogswell said.
Order a drink and you may find yourself looking at Krystal Cogswell's .38 Special Lavender Lady secured to her hip. She's one of the half dozen employees arming themselves in case of another robbery.
"Before I never felt an immediate threat, so I would just have it off to the side or somewhere hidden. 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," she explained.
Security footage from the latest robbery attempt Sunday night shows a suspect holding what looks like a weapon trying to enter the shop through the drive-thru window. The employee was able to put down a block to stop the entry and grab her gun, but by then the suspect left. Chapel is making sure her employees can defend themselves if it happens again.
"A couple of them bring handguns every day, no matter what shift it is. There is always a gun here now," she said.
So far, there has been an outpouring of support from customers.
"I think it's pretty awesome," customer Kelly Dirks said.
"This isn't a corporation. I encourage them to get guns under each window and shoot first," customer Sharon Whitt said.
Cogswell said there was only one case where someone didn't like the idea of baristas with Berettas.
"I only had one guy that said, 'Whoa, maybe you girls shouldn't have them because when you're angry you do things you shouldn't,'" Cogswell said.
Cogswell said she has her concealed weapons license and has been around guns her entire life. She doesn't plan on using her gun -- unless there's one pointing at her.
"I'd like to defend myself if the time comes," she said.
As far as the legality of it is concerned, Spokane Police said it is completely legal as long as the employees who are armed are 18 and older and do not have any prior convictions that restrict them from using firearms.
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