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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Spatula-Wielding Cook Fights Off Robbers

MILWAUKEE -- Four teens allegedly got themselves in trouble with police Sunday night -- maybe to their relief -- after they faced an elderly cook who fought back when they tried to rob a Milwaukee restaurant.

Police said the youths entered the George Webb restaurant around 8:30 p.m. Sunday to case out the place. They returned a few minutes later and one stood on a stool.

"Give me all your money," the would-be robber said.

The 70-year-old cook, Jan, can be heard responding on surveillance tape.

"You better get the (expletive) out of here before I kick your (expletive). Out! Out!," she yelled, raising her spatula.

The robbers, ages 11, 12, 13 and 17, ran off, police said.

The entire ordeal was caught on the restaurant's security camera, and police were able to catch up with the children in the neighborhood within minutes.

Jan was back in the kitchen Monday and didn't want to make a big deal of the incident, but she was the talk of the day at her lunch counter.

"So many times people think that seniors are targets for robberies or whatever, or harassment. And I'm proud of her for just sticking up for those two things alone," customer James Caldwell said.

Alderman Bob Donovan is a frequent customer at the George Webb restaurant. He said he knows Jan's cooking and personality as well as anybody. He said he's not at all surprised that she gave those kids what he called "a dose of tough love."

"Jan's lived in the neighborhood for many years," Donovan said. "She's worked at Webb's for a lot of years, and she's a great lady, as far as I'm concerned, and she did the right thing."

Jan said she's not crazy and said that if it had been an adult trying to rob the restaurant, she would have just cooperated.

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