Tony Oliver stared up at the barrel of a revolver Wednesday night, believing that the man on the other end might pull the trigger at any moment.
Oliver, an employee at Carolina Spirits No. 2 on Rivers Avenue in North Charleston, was a victim in the first of three unrelated armed robberies that occurred within four hours of each other Wednesday night in North Charleston and Charleston County.
Oliver, 61, said he was behind the counter just before 6 p.m. when two men with guns in their hands entered the store. One of them immediately jumped up on the counter.
"He leapt up from the floor and was standing on the countertop. And he had the gun pointed down at me," Oliver said Thursday.
The man told Oliver to back up as he jumped down from the counter and pushed Oliver to the ground. The man, who did all of the talking, demanded to know where the safe was. When Oliver told him there was no safe, the man leaned in closer and repeated the same question with an expletive.
"I really believed at that time that he might shoot me," Oliver said.
The men led him to a bathroom, forced him to the ground and shut the door. When Oliver heard them leave through the back door he knew they couldn't get back in. He pushed the store's alarm and called 911.
It was the first time Oliver has been a victim of a robbery. He has worked at the store for five years. He was back to work on Thursday.
"I'm fine," he said.
The next robbery occurred on Johns Island about 7:45 p.m. Employees at the Subway at 3750 Savannah Highway said a witness told deputies that a woman entered the restaurant and walked down the hallway toward the bathrooms. She returned to the front a short while later wearing a black skull cap over her face, an incident report says.
The suspect told the two employees that she had a gun and acted like she had one on her hip. She took all of the money from a tip jar and ordered an employee to give her all of the money from the register, the report says.
The suspect ordered the women to the floor and ran out of the store.
The third robbery happened at 10 p.m. at the Wendy's on Northwoods Boulevard in North Charleston.
Witnesses told police that a man jumped over the counter, pulled out a handgun and demanded money from the register. After the store manager gave him money from the register, the suspect demanded money from the safe.
When the manager gave him that money, he told her, "You don't have enough money," according to an incident report. The man then ran from the restaurant, along with a second suspect who stood near the door and told everyone to remain seated.
Reach Andy Paras at 937-5589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.