A clerk at The Rooster convenience store was back at work just two days after facing an armed robber last week.
And despite the serious situation he had found himself in, William Delorme recounts the robbery with a mixture of wry jokes.
The 31-year-old said he was working the nightshift in the early morning of Nov. 8 when an apparently drunken robber – wearing a ski mask and a sweater with an oversized hood – came in with a rifle and hung around in front of the burger display for about five minutes before acting.
During that five minutes, Delorme said he was thinking, “Can you rob me and get this done already? I’ve got things to do.”
It appeared the robber was trying to build up his nerve.
While the hesitant robber was standing there, Delorme tried to start up a conversation by offering him something to eat to break the ice.
“I offered him a corndog,” he said. But the robber said nothing.
Delorme recalled he was not scared as he waited for the robber to act but became a bit nervous when the masked man decided to go through with it.
“I was nervous for like a moment because his hands were shaking. The barrel was like all over the place,” he said.
“And then I looked at the bolt and I realized it was open.”
That meant the gun wasn’t ready to fire.
Plus, Delorme noticed the barrel of the .22-calibre rifle was very rusted.
“And then I looked at his hand position and it wasn’t even in the position to fire if needed,” he said.
The robber also was hoping to get money from a highly secure target.
“He asked me to open the ATM like three times,” said Delorme. “I had to explain to him that I don’t have access to the ATM. He only seemed to accept it after the third time.”
So the robber had a change of plans.
$200 in loose bills
“Then he tapped on the tills and he was like, ‘Then open these’,” said Delorme. “I basically told him that’s what I was trying to explain the whole time.”
The masked bandit left with about $200 in loose bills.
After he was gone, Delorme called the police.
The clerk had been on the phone with a friend when the robber entered the 24-hour store.
“My buddy drove by and said a guy with a rifle is on the way in but by the time he phoned me to warn me he was already right there,” said Delorme.
While he waited for the police to arrive, Delorme said the robber returned to the store without the mask or the gun, although he didn’t realize who it was at the time.
“He came back and had a smoke with me like 10 minutes after, 15 minutes after,” the clerk said, explaining that’s one of the reasons he would describe the robber as incompetent.
“That guy did not play enough Grand Theft Auto clearly,” he said.
Delorme believes he bought a pack of cigarettes with the stolen money.
“I was sitting there cracking jokes about the robbery already. And he was just sitting there listening to them,” said Delorme, adding the suspect was also wearing a weird smile.
“He waited around until the cops came around and then he took off,” said the clerk.
Delorme has worked at The Rooster for 11 years but it was the first time he faced an armed robber.
A 21-year-old man has been charged in connection with the armed robbery.
According to a Nov. 9 news release, the RCMP has charged Cameron Bernard with robbery with a firearm, pointing a firearm, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, possession of a weapon while prohibited, possession of a disguise with intent to commit an indictable offence, and possession of a weapon without a licence.
“We are thankful for the investigative work undertaken by the Hay River RCMP and a quick arrest of (a) suspect involved in the reported robbery,” stated RCMP spokesperson Marie York-Condon.
Bernard appeared in Territorial Court in Yellowknife on Nov. 10. He was remanded in custody until Nov. 16.
According to the RCMP, a masked man entered The Rooster at about 3:45 a.m. on Nov. 8.
York-Condon said that type of criminal activity involving a firearm is concerning to the RCMP.