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Man shot while robbing Anchorage hardware store, police say …

A man was shot while trying to rob an Anchorage hardware store. Now, he s in custody and the store owner is crediting a loss prevention officer with saving lives. Just after 5:00 p.m. Saturday, police say a man walked into Andy s Ace Hardware in Muldoon and pulled out a gun. He pointed it at the clerk working the cash register, demanded money from the cash register, said Sgt. Jeremy Conkling.

Owner Stephanie Van Ness was in the back of the store at the time and didn t see what was happening.

We heard a noise. We thought maybe a box had dropped out on the sales floor, she said. The sound was a gunshot. Police say after getting the cash, the suspect shot the register.

We heard three more shots and we knew something was wrong, said Van Ness. When the suspect ran out the front door, police say he met a loss prevention officer.

We do believe at this point the suspect fired on the security guard and then the security guard fired at least two times, striking the suspect, said Conkling. Customers and employees all evacuated safely and the wounded suspect was soon in custody.

I do strongly feel that our loss prevention officer today saved lives, said Van Ness.

The robbery suspect is in the hospital. APD said his injuries are non-life threatening. Officers are also looking for a vehicle involved in the crime. In the store s 55 years, third generation owner Van Ness said a crime like this is a first.

Never happened, she said. We ve had shoplifting, unfortunately, more lately than there has been in the past, but this is the first time we ve had a robbery, and especially a robbery with a weapon. How her store is a crime scene. Van Ness said what happened here is happening all over town.

I feel like all of Anchorage is being hit all the time now and people probably weren t talking about it like they should be to get it fixed and people are starting to talk about it now and understand what a problem shoplifting is, she said.

For Van Ness, owning her grandfather s hardware store is about helping customers. They closed for the rest of Saturday, but, she says come Sunday, their doors will open and they ll get back to business as usual.

We re a family here and everybody came together and helped make sure everybody was safe.

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