Grandma: ''If people don't fight back, it's gonna continue''

June 22, 2004
Toledo Blade

Rita Dipman had seen enough, heard enough. When it started to happen to her on Sunday, she was ready.
"If people don't fight back, it's gonna continue," she said.

On Sunday afternoon, Ms. Dipman, 52, was eating at the Subway sandwich store on Main Street in East Toledo with her 3-year-old granddaughter when a man robbed the store.

Seeing the commotion, Ms. Dipman scooped up her granddaughter and fled, but the fleeing robber caught up with them, brandished a knife, and then tried to grab Ms. Dipman's purse.

He might have picked on the wrong grandmother.

"He yanked and I yanked back," Ms. Dipman said. "I wasn't gonna let this guy get the better of me. I was gonna protect my granddaughter, and I wasn't gonna let him hurt me."

Click on the "Read More..." link below for more.

Ms. Dipman's granddaughter screamed, and the man fled without getting the purse.

"I was trying to save her life, and I think by her screaming she might have saved both of us," she said.

The daylight crime shocked Mayor Jack Ford and prompted him to announce a $3,000 reward yesterday for information related to the crime.

"This one really ticked me off, really," the mayor said.

Mayor Ford has asked police to look through mugshots, yearbooks, records, and other sources to help Ms. Dipman and other witnesses determine the robber's identity.

Police Chief Mike Navarre said uniformed officers and detectives have canvassed the area the last two days. They are processing evidence, such as prints.

Police said the man entered the store, 648 Main, and asked for a cup of water. The 43-year-old manager charged him for the cup, and when the cash register opened, the robber jumped over the counter and hit her in the mouth, causing her to fall against the wall.

The robber grabbed the register, which fell to the floor, and took some money. Ms. Dipman said she picked up her granddaughter and started to run out the door before the robber assaulted them.

The robber is described as white, in his 20s, about 5-feet, 6-inches tall with a medium build, a buzz haircut, and a tattoo on his neck. He was wearing a white shirt with blue flower design and washed-out blue pants.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stopper at 419-255-1111.

The City of Toledo has some of the most restrictive gun control laws in the state, and it shows in the headlines, and on the obituary pages. Toledo has also been having a HUGE problem with carryout robberies. Many defenseless employees have been victimized, and at least one killed.

So Mayor Ford is "really ticked".

With anti-self-defense policies like Ford's, and with a police chief like Mike Navarre, Ford's words don't count for much.

Here Navarre's opinion on self-defense:

  • In a recent story about how carry-out owners are arming themselves after a year or more stretch of violent robberies in Toledo, "Toledo's police Chief Mike Navarre said he teaches small business owners not to have a gun."

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    Navarre "wants owners to comply with criminals because anytime you have more guns in a tense situation, the better the chance of people getting shot and it's just not worth it."

  • At a town hall gathering for concerned store owners and citizens in January, Navarre was asked what they should do if bullets are flying:

    "Take immediate cover - get away from the bullets."

    He added: "Pick up a baseball bat if that’s your only defense against bullets coming toward you."

    He said the best response to an armed robber is to comply fully and quickly, and to avoid making sudden movements.

    "Complying with criminals" didn't prevent 47-year-old Misada Shalan's murder inside Tamara's Carryout in January. Her husband, also shot, was able to convince the criminals to stop firing long enough to take what they wanted and leave.

    Navarre's callous suggestion after this crime was for stores to put up more security cameras (no doubt so he can have an easier time mopping up the blood and bad P.R. by tracking down the perp).

    In January, when a church congregation was terrorized by an armed robber, Mayor Ford said "this crime is totally outrageous. We want to send a message that crimes like this will not be tolerated."

    Meanwhile Ford vigorously opposed concealed carry legislation which helps send such a message, and presides over a city which bans the practice of open carry for self-defense, held up by five Supreme Court Justices as a "fundamental, individual" right".

    Mayor Ford's latest action against those who would wish to protect themselves is to dictate an illegal ban on concealed carry in city parks. Ford has not even bothered to consult with Toledo City Council. He just ordered that the signs be posted. And despite having these rules declared "invalid" by the Ohio Attorney General, there is no doubt Chief Navarre will carry out Ford's wishes and attempt to press charges on some unsuspecting individual "caught" legally carrying.

    Never fear, though. The next time a jogger is raped or an elderly walker mugged in a Toledo city park, we've no doubt Mayor Ford will really be "ticked"...really.

    Contact Toledo City Council by email, or by calling 419-245-1050.

    Mayor Jack Ford can be reached by email, or by calling 419-936-2020.

    Chief Mike Navarre can be reached by email, or by calling 419-245-3200.

    Related Stories:
    Ohio CHL-holder stops robbery; defends lives

    Tale of FOUR OH Cities: Three posted business robbed; Armed Toledo clerk defends

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