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Armed robber takes pity on shop's meagre income and hands money back

22:11 16/01/2023

An armed robber who entered a wine shop in the Auderghem neighbourhood of Brussels was given €110 - an amount so low he felt sorry for the shopkeeper and simply handed it back.

The shopkeeper explained that the back-to-back crises, from the pandemic to inflation to skyrocketing energy prices, meant there was little cash worth stealing.

“The robber asked us for cash – we only had €110 to give him, but he insisted while threatening us with his gun to give him more, believing that there was a lot of money elsewhere,” the manager of Le Cellier de Vinalgros said in a statement on social media.

“We then explained to him that the situation of small shopkeepers was very dire, that after having paid all our charges, salaries, taxes and other expenses, we had nothing left. We also explained to him that there was no more cash in circulation, because of the successive crises and because the few people who spent money with us paid by card.”

The manager said the robber then told them they could keep the money and asked how to leave the store.

“I almost felt that he felt sorry for us and the sad reality we are in today,” the manager said, before joking: “I sincerely believe that a retraining is urgently needed for all the little robbers who relied on us small businesses to survive.”

The robbery took place last Thursday afternoon around 15.00 when a man dressed in black with a motorbike helmet on his head burst into the wine shop.

While the robber left without firing his weapon, the staff were shaken by the ordeal and the manager filed a report and gave police camera footage of the incident.

Manager Michael Thill said he was still thankful that the robber left the money and did not break anything in the store.

“It's not easy to go through, [but] rest assured we are all fine even if it was very shocking.”

Written by Helen Lyons