Student held at gunpoint in robbery

By Ben Jutzi and Joey Harris, Executive Copy Editor and Page Editor

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Junior Juliette Rowan (right) and her mother reflect on their experience of being threatened with a gun during an armed robbery. The pair witnessed the robbery on Oct. 28 at Northbrook Towne Nails salon.

As she sat drying her nails, junior Juliette Rowan glanced out the window and noticed two men wearing hoodies walk by the Northbrook Towne Nails salon. She did not think much of what she had just seen, but roughly a minute later the men were back and had entered the store, each holding a gun.

Shouting and swearing, they dug through the salon’s cash register and forced everyone in the store to hand over items ranging from purses to phones.

Stunned, Rowan looked up at the unnerved face of her mother. Unable to fully comprehend what was happening, Rowan’s thoughts stopped. It was not until the burglars finished stealing her belongings that Rowan realized a gun had been pointed at her head in the process.

“I didn’t really realize at that moment what was happening,” said Rowan. “It just seemed like a prank.”

After the burglars left, Rowan used the salon’s phone to call the police. They questioned everyone who was in the store for about an hour. Once the police got word that the two suspects were arrested in Niles, they drove Rowan there to identify them.

Over a month after Oct. 28, the day of the robbery, the translucent door to the salon is locked shut. Jinhee Cho, owner of Northbrook Towne Nails, will come to the door to see what people want before letting them in.

The nail salon has already added security cameras and is looking to get a magnetic door that will remain locked until opened with the push of a button, Cho said.

James Jakimow, co-owner of North Shore Needleworks, which is two doors down from Northbrook Towne Nails, said although his store has not implemented any new physical security devices, his behaviors have changed due to the robbery.

“We’re much more aware of who’s walking by.

“We ask customers to put their purses somewhere [so] they’re out of sight,” Jakimow said.

Neither of the stores plan to buy a gun as extra protection.

Rowan said she does not believe guns are a necessary part of everyday life, but the robbery made her understand why someone would want one for self-defense.

“It might be better to have [a gun] on you in the event that you would need it,” she said.

Harley Goodman, hunting manager at Bass Pro Shops in Gurnee, said he believes guns are the best means of personal protection.

   “[If a criminal brings] a firearm [somewhere], is it a realistic expectation for me to bring pepper spray or a taser to a gunfight and expect to live?” said Harley Goodman. “The answer is no.”

Junior Connor Doughty said he would feel safer in a store that has a gun for protection as long as the owner has been trained and certified to own a gun.

“If I know that there’s someone watching over me [and] protecting me, a sense of security is definitely there,” he said.

According to the Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry Act, in order to acquire a concealed carry license an individual must be 21 years old, have or qualify for a Firearms Owners’ Identification card and complete necessary firearms training and education.

Lee Goodman, principal organizer for Peaceful Communities, a group that advocates for tighter gun control laws, said the problem with using guns as protection is that they can be mishandled in violent or deadly ways.

“The fewer guns there are in circulation, the fewer people who are going to get shot,” he said.

Junior Prajnaa Jain said knowing that there was an armed robbery in Northbrook strengthens her desire for stricter gun control laws.

“Ensuring that the people who do have guns are the people who can use them responsibly is very important,” Jain said.

Rowan said she did not expect to ever come face to face with a gun in Northbrook.

“We hear about a lot of stories [involving guns], but I feel it’s hard to relate,” said Rowan. “It’s not until you have a personal situation [that] you realize the extent of just how bad things could be.”

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Student held at gunpoint in robbery