We are a community of shop keepers and the recent brazen nature of attacks on shop owners and staff worries us all. Rakesh Bhardwaj owner of Jazz’s Off-Licence on Wellington Road, Perry Barr, like many shopkeepers we know has defended his property and staff to the max.
CCTV footage released via West Midlands Police shows the moment that brave shop keeper Rakesh tackles a would-be thief who tried to steal vodka from his off-licence.
Owner Mr Bhardwaj, 57, was in the back of his shop when a man burst in. The man leapt over the counter and grabbed a bottle of Absolut. Rakesh without any fear ran to the aid of his colleague, 59-year-old Jaswinder Kaur. Together they managed to wrestle the bottle off the man. Then, after some coaxing, marched him off out the shop without injury.
Meanwhile one of Mr Bhardwaj’s friends managed to keep the thief’s accomplice from entering the shop and potentially escalating the situation.
Mr Bhardwaj said he was no hero but instinctively protecting his co-worker and his livelihood.
The father-of-two said: “I feel terrible because you come to work not to be abused and not to have violence. You do not expect to handle something like this.
“There’s a lack of policing. Hurry up, Boris Johnson. 20,000 police officers, where are they? There’s hardly any police anywhere.
The drama unfolded just as he headed into the backroom after 9pm on Monday, November 4.
The proud shopkeeper, who keeps his business spotless, said: “I saw somebody in dark clothing dive over the counter and thought ‘what the hell’.
“The guy must’ve thought Jaswinder was on her own and suddenly I appear. He was holding a bottle of Absolute and she was holding that as well.
“I grabbed him too and said ‘let go of the bottle and I will let you go’ because I didn’t want a confrontation. ”
“During the scuffle, his stocky mate with a red eye tried to enter and put his hood up. Luckily my friend kept the other guy outside because if he had come inside, we would have had a problem.“Jaswinder was on the phone to the police.”
A spokeswoman from West Midlands Police said: “Officers were called to reports of an attempted theft at Jazz’s Off Licence, Wellington Road, Handsworth at just after 9pm on Monday 4 November.
“Police enquiries are ongoing.”