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Shell Clerk With Gun Thwarts Robber, Loses Job

Bear Cothran knew the risks of carrying his registered firearm to work, his wife says.

Shell station, 301 Main St., Nashua.
Shell station, 301 Main St., Nashua.
The following story, about a weekend robbery at the Shell Station, 301 Main St., was told via Facebook, called to my attention late last night by a Nashua Patch reader who wrote:

"With the rash of recent armed robberies of convenience stors (sic) in the area, this needs to make the news."

I agree.

It is compelling enough to repost here as it was written by a Facebook user named Angel Darkenna, who urged others to share the story, so I am reposting here.

I will follow up with Nashua Police, clerk Bear Cothran – who according to this, lost his job for breaking company policy by carrying a weapon to work – and the company that owns the gas station, Nouria Energy.

Click here to read our interview with Bear Cothran
....
Originally Posted by Angel Darkenna:
"For those who haven't heard yet, last night someone attempted to rob the Shell station on Main Street in Nashua. A large man entered the station, quick-walked around the counter, drew a knife from his sleeve, and held it in a 'gutting' position, threatening the clerk. He told the clerk, whom we all know and love as Bear Cothran, to give him all the money in the register, or, and this is a direct quote, 'I will kill you.' Bear took three steps back, drew his legally concealed firearm, and aimed it at the robber. At this point, the robber thought better of the situation and fled the store. The police were contacted, but have been as yet unable to find the man. Bear was, thankfully, not injured during the incident.

At 11:20 this morning, Bear received a phone call from his boss, informing him that, in spite of his status as a 10-year employee in good standing and both the store and district managers going to bat for him, he was being terminated. Nouria Energy (http://www.nouriaenergy.com/), the franchise owner of the store (as well as the majority of the other Shell stations in the southern NH area), has a policy prohibiting employees from carrying weapons while on the clock. Bear was let go without any manner of severance for violating this policy.

Essentially, he protected the store's assets and his own well-being, in a manner in which no one was injured and no damage was done, and was fired for it.

Now, I support the right of Nouria Energy to choose to have such a policy. I think it's not a particularly good policy, given the business that they are in, but it's their right to make that decision. Just as it is my right to choose not to patronize their business ever again. If you agree with me, please join me in denying Nouria Energy your business.

EDIT: Nouria Energy Corp. is the franchise company that owns and operates this Shell station, and it was their policy that Bear broke. Nouria operates over 120 stations under the Shell and Lil Mart brands. It is these stations that I am asking you to avoid.http://www.nouriaenergy.com/store-locator.html

EDIT #2: From Lee J. Lavallee, Bear's lovely wife:
"FYI: In regards to Bear's termination over last night's situation. He knew the risks of breaking company policy. Bear and I talked about them several times over the past few years, and more so these past several months due to the explosion of armed robberies in the Nashua/Manchester area (and the stabbing/shooting of unarmed gas station attendants at some of these robberies, like the one in Hooksett). And every time we brought up the subject we BOTH agreed that his life was far more important than the job. He knew it, and he did it anyhow. And I support him 100 percent. Guess what gang, we are getting ready to have legal paperwork signed in 2 weeks. 2 Weeks. And I would much rather be a wife of an unemployed, ethical, loyal, hardworking man than to be a widow of someone who simply followed company policy."
Glenn October 22, 2013 at 01:34 PM
@Jim U Lacrum; Having spent some time in the merchandising business I can say the 'majority' of convenience stores/ gas station clerks were not people that I would want pulling a gun out to use in public. NOT ALL Jim but a definite majority. Not saying they are bad people just that they shouldn't be packing a gun at work. You said "You'll notice that gun shops, armored cars, and other places with armed personnel don't run into many robbery attempts" So put armed guards in the stores. Note that gun shops and armored cars aren't doing business late a night. Open a gun shop 24 hours in a crappy neighborhood and see what happens.
Glenn October 22, 2013 at 01:43 PM
@Jim U Lacrum; The other group of clerks I got to know were young kids, many of them teens. Many of them students. I also would not want them pulling out guns either.
Jim U Lacrum October 22, 2013 at 02:00 PM
If we're going to bother with background, I have worked late-night shifts at gas stations, I have been robbed by armed criminals on two occasions, and though I no longer do that job, I carry a pistol regularly. I have little to no concern about ever shooting someone by accident because I'm not a reckless idiot. Internalizing safe handling procedures is a basic first step to owning a firearm, even if you never carry it. It doesn't matter what you want or don't want. You're not the person being attacked by an armed criminal. You are not the one whose life is under threat. Moreover, stores could (and certainly would) exercise some control over who carries a weapon at work. It wouldn't be just anyone. Some training would have to be required, eliminating most of this risk you fear. I also think it would be good to put armed guards in certain stores at certain times. But if you're going to do that, why bother to hire a separate person to do that job? Why not have the guard also run the store? By the way, minors are not legally allowed to carry guns anyway, so that's not really germane to this discussion.
Glenn October 23, 2013 at 10:11 AM
Ahh yes, 7-11 stop and go stores will certainly jump on board to train their minimum wage clerks to carry firearms. Also Jim when clerks carry firearms the criminals will step up their game, right? In this case if the guy had had a gun instead off the knife what good would a concealed weapon have done. I am aiming my gun at you go ahead and draw on me. And hate to burst your bubble, I still don't want low paying , non-skilled workers carry weapons. Why are these people working late shift minimum wage jobs? Student, elderly but most are uneducated unmotivated people that I don't want tossing lead through the air at their first fright. If freaking guns made the world safe Jim then by count the USA would be the safest crime free country in the world.
Kristen October 23, 2013 at 10:17 AM
@glenn you are so wrong and so judge mental it's rediculous my husband works third shift at this store and he is very well educated he had no choice but to take this job when the company he used to work for went out of business so when you say these terrible things about honest hard working Americans it's very rude!! You don't judge a book by its cover so unless you know the facts keep your mouth shut!!

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