KEY POINTS

  • The employee was working alone on Sept. 5 at a Subway location in Rockford, Illinois, when the armed man walked in
  • The attempted robbery was captured on surveillance video from inside the Subway
  • The employee claimed she was suspended and told not to return to work until all videos of the incident are taken down

An employee of a Subway location in Rockford, Illinois, has been suspended after defending herself during an attempted robbery.

The worker, identified as Araceli Sotelo, was working alone on Sept. 5 when an unnamed man walked into the restaurant located at 1120 East State Street. He showed his gun and told her to hand over the money in the cash register, WTVO reported.

Sotelo told the outlet that she was scared for her life at the time and asked the man to leave.

“[He said], ‘Give me all the money,’ and I said, ‘I do not have any money, like, I do not have any money.’ That is all I had, and he was just like, ‘Give me everything before I hurt you,'” the woman recalled.

Instead of leaving, the man allegedly grabbed Sotelo's purse. She decided to fight back.

She explained that she felt she had an advantage because she was "bigger" than the robber and "could at least put my weight on him, push him, or something."

“He dropped [the gun] trying to hold onto my purse, and I end up pulling his sweatshirt off him, and I was like, ‘Show your face, show your face, you are on camera,’” Sotelo said.

The incident was captured on surveillance video from inside the Subway.

But after the footage later went viral, Sotelo ended up getting suspended. She claimed that she was told she could not return to work until all the videos of the incident that are circulating online are taken down.

“I get a call yesterday, it was like, ‘If every one of these videos are not taken offline, you will be suspended,’ and then I texted them and I’m like, ‘How long am I suspended for?’ They said till everything is removed online. I have no ability to do that,” Sotelo said.

Sotelo insisted that she did not leak the video. She also claimed that the owner of the Subway location is ignoring her.

“They did not want anyone to know, they wanted to be private that it happened to me and that I fought back, but I think they did that because they do not want corporate to know,” Sotelo suggested.

Sotelo added that while no money was taken from Subway, the robber ended up stealing her purse and left her phone broken from the incident.

A GoFundMe page has been put up to help Sotelo raise funds to get her broken phone fixed.

The incident is being investigated by police. The surveillance footage has been logged as evidence.

Subway Sandwich A Subway sandwich is seen in a restaurant.  Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images