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'Statue of Liberty' Pursues Tax Office Robbers

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Liberty TaxIsaac Underwood's job -- outdoor promoter of Liberty Tax Services in Toledo, Ohio -- requires him to don a Statue of Liberty outfit and hold aloft not a torch, but a sign announcing a $50 cash reward for employing Liberty's tax preparers. But on Thursday evening, Underwood, 27, behaved more like a costumed hero, chasing a pair of thieves who robbed his employer of $280.

According to the Toledo Blade, the miscreants, a man and a woman who had her taxes prepared by Liberty the previous Monday, used a curling iron under a washcloth to simulate a gun. They entered the business just minutes before closing time -- 7 p.m. -- with black cloths covering their faces. Oddly, after realizing there were still other customers, they sat down and removed the cloths, only to re-cover their faces once one of the customers left -- just one weird detail in their poorly planned and ineptly executed holdup.

The Toledo Blade/Jeremy Wadsworth

At first believing that the woman -- allegedly Sonia Watson, 41 -- was armed, Liberty employee Stephanie Knight opened a cash drawer when the robbers demanded money. But after a friend who was waiting for her in the office indicated that the "concealed weapon" was no gun at all, Knight refused to hand over the cash. At that point, the woman gave her partner in crime the order to shoot.

"He looked confused," Knight recounted to the Blade's reporters -- as well he might have been, given that he was armed with only a curling iron. "It wasn't a thought-out plan."

The man moved towards Knight, whose friend gallantly picked up a chair and struck the robber. The woman hit Knight on the wrist with the curling iron, and the Liberty employee retaliated with a Pepsi bottle (nearly full, according to police reports) aimed at the forehead. In the confusion, the woman grabbed $280 in cash, and the two malefactors escaped out the front door.

Sonia WatsonUnderwood, whose first day it was at that location (though he has worked at Liberty for three years), went to find out what was afoot. "I opened the door and they said we'd been robbed," he recalled. Underwood didn't hesitate: He removed his Statue of Liberty crown and set off after the villains. "My first instinct was to run after them," he said.

He wasn't able to apprehend the suspects, who disappeared down an alley. But an arrest warrant has been issued for Sonia Watson, who remains at large.

Underwood has encountered robbers while on the job once before. Last year, wearing the same Statue of Liberty getup in a different part of Toledo, he saw a pair of thieves fleeing from a fast-food joint. Then, too, the criminals escaped. This time, however, Underwood made them work for it.

Perhaps Underwood should consider switching careers from mascot to crime-fighter. He could keep his costume, and call himself the Statue, or Taxman. When it comes to chasing robbers, the third time could be the charm.





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rini1946

First there were more comment on the company and the people that wear the uniforms than the act of chasing the robber. So here is one about the chasing fo the robber this is a stupid thing to do. If they would have shot him or beat the crap out of him he would have either a lot of funeral bill or doctor bill for what 280 dollars. But a lot of companies have a rule that if you do any thing like that you will lose your job. The thing is would you like your family to know that you are a hero or for them to know you as grandpa or ma). I feel bad for a kid that tried to stop a couple of bank robbers on a motorcycle and was shot and killed. Sorry not worth it. And let me end this with thank you policemen everywhere (except the 2% that are a hole and make the rest of them look bad)

January 31 2012 at 8:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Raymond

Honestly, you couldn't pay me enough to dress up as the 'Statue of Liberty' to advertise anything. I'm not that desperate to make extra money by doing that..

January 31 2012 at 5:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Raymond's comment
Tim

Well some people really need a job and will take anything out there....Personally if my babies were hungry i'd do it and i'm sure any other parent would swallow their pride and put on the custome too

January 31 2012 at 5:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Terri!

We had two Liberty Tax offices here in Grand Junction, CO. BOTH stole their customers' tax refunds, closed their doors without notice, and left town in the dark of night. They made the local news. How would anyone want to do business with this company after something like that?

January 31 2012 at 1:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lukedude27

We have a Liberty Tax service here in Rochester Hills MI. The young man they have out there in this exact coustume is very animated and funny. I can't imagine he is making alot doing it. This kid seems to enjoy his job and is doing what he is paid to do Get Liberty Tax Service noticed. He is doing his job and is making people smile a little too, It looks like both these young men are doing great jobs and going above and beyond, Give em both raises!

January 30 2012 at 9:45 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lukedude27's comment
Tim

We have one of those kind of guys....He's on the corner of a very busy intersection and at the stop light he interacts with people in the cars and stuff he's a very cool guy

January 31 2012 at 5:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Timilee

All I know about Liberty Tax Services is that the sign at the one in Kilgore, TX has a sign with the word "dollar" spelled "dallor". I'm not sure, but I don't think these people are the ones I want to do my taxes.

January 30 2012 at 9:30 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Dennis Wayne

On the telephone,Liberty told me that they would prepare my taxes for $50,I dropped the paper work off that morning,when I returned to the office that afternoon,I was told it would cost $250,I reminded him of his fifty dollar quote and then he offered to do my taxes for $175,so I took my forms back and filed my own taxes and got a refund.

January 30 2012 at 9:26 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
John

Two people robbed an office and ran off, and a guy in a costume chased them for a while. This constitutes a "news story" about a "hero?" Seriously?

Slow news day, I guess.

January 30 2012 at 9:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
no7mk1

...great!...someone robbed the robbers!!!........

January 30 2012 at 8:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to no7mk1's comment
Tim

Maybe they found out they weren't getting a refund and decied to get their fee back

January 31 2012 at 5:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John

How does this make him almost a hero? What he and other employees did was an outstanding example of stupidity, not bravery. Is it worth losing your life over $280.00, which did not even belong to them? People dont think these things through. Even though the employees did not see a weapon, it doesnt mean there wasnt one there.

January 30 2012 at 8:05 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to John's comment
charles daniel

actually if more people did what these people did you would have less criminals but in stead you have a bunch of ***** out there that keep getting rob because they do give them the money i think everyone should do what they did.

January 30 2012 at 8:53 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to charles daniel's comment
wademech

Right On!!!!! If people would start standing up against crime, instead of cowering before the criminals, there would be alot less of them! How about being a real American, and kick a criminal in the butt today! Time to take a stand folks! If you don't like living in fear, stop being afraid!

January 31 2012 at 3:28 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down
wademech

Wow! You sound like a real "stand-up" guy. That's OK! You go hide, and snivel in the corner, and stay out of the way of the REAL MEN! We will kick the living crap out of the bad guys for you. so that you don't have to be afraid anymore. Now, go home to mommy!

January 31 2012 at 3:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
NomadBud

If the world need an enema they would stick it in Toledo .

January 30 2012 at 7:58 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply