Lawrence store owner recounts thwarted robbery attempt

Crouched behind the counter of his South Union Street liquor store, Arturo Taveras darts forward with his arms in front of him as if pointing his pistol, reenacting the scene Sunday night when a masked man entered his store and pulled a gun on him, demanding “all his money.”

“As soon as I saw him, I jumped behind the stand and pointed a gun at his direction,” Taveras said. The quick action may have spared Taveras, 69, his life: The would-be robber spooked and ran from McCann’s Liquors around 10:30 p.m.

Surveillance tape from the incident was still being reviewed today. The suspect, described as a 6-foot man with a large build, has not been caught, according to Lawrence Police Chief John Romero.

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When asked for his reaction as he spotted the masked man entering his store, Taveras said he wasn’t frightened. “When you’re scared, you die early.”

In a 2011 robbery, Taveras didn’t fare so well. He was pistolwhipped and tied up with duct tape, though after a four-hour standoff with police the two would-be robbers were captured.

Romero commended Taveras for his prudent action on Sunday, saying that as a licensed gun owner who was caught with a weapon pointed at him, “Taveras acted within the law, [with] every right to protect himself.”