On the eve of one of the biggest sales days of the year, two men staged an armed robbery at the Wholesale Mattress Warehouse on South Boulevard and found themselves in a shootout with the man who owns the shop.
The man wasn’t there on Memorial Day afternoon when a reporter visited the store.
But the man’s wife – and co-owner of the shop – showed prospective customers around, touting the shop’s sales and best-price guarantee and letting young children draw pictures to hang on her bulletin board.
While shoppers were on the opposite side of the room, the store owner – who asked that her name not be used to spare families “more heartaches” – teared up recounting the previous day’s robbery that she says forced her husband to shoot three times in self-defense.
She said that just after the store opened Sunday, two 20-something men entered and approached her husband, who was filling in for her.
“I was on my way. It should have been me here,” she said.
Her husband was sitting behind the desk in the back left corner of the shop. One of the men asked if the store sold king-size beds, she said, then immediately pointed a gun at her husband’s head.
She said the armed man ordered her husband to empty his pockets, give up his wallet, and turn over all of the store’s cash, threatening to kill him if he didn’t.
Her husband pulled some money from one drawer, then reached into another as if to get more money. Instead he grabbed a concealed gun and shot the armed man in the stomach, she said.
The alleged robber fired back twice and missed, she said. Then the injured man stumbled and the pair ran outside to a third person, waiting in a car, she said. Her husband shot one last time and missed, the bullet puncturing the wall just inches from the front windows and door.
The injured robbery suspect then went to Carolinas Medical Center in Pineville, the owner said.
“He’s coming out of surgery, and he’s going to be OK,” Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Capt. G. Farley confirmed Sunday. CMPD used the GPS on the husband’s stolen cell phone to locate the suspects.
“Shootout at the Mattress Warehouse,” the owner said, shaking her head. “We’re getting security cameras installed this week. … It’s going to be top-notch security.”
Observer reporter Ames Alexander contributed.