INDIANAPOLIS — When Michelle Coldren pulled into the parking lot of a CVS store Saturday night on the city’s north side and spotted the store’s cashier scuffling with a group of young people, she pulled out her cellphone and hit the record button.
“We saw five individuals run out of the CVS screaming hollering, calling for police. We saw one of the female individuals kind of running backwards striking at the clerk coming out of the CVS. Throwing some items at her,” said Coldern. “She was just defending herself as she was getting arms thrown at her as she came through and she was picking up items that they were throwing at her and at the end, she looked a little exhausted and she grabbed her head and she came back over to the car where we were standing and she was holding her head as she was bleeding.”
The group took off in a black pickup truck with a damaged rear bumper and no license plate. The truck careened southbound on Kenwood Avenue, leaving the clerk battered and the parking lot littered with dropped merchandise.
“She has said that the kids had just come in and one of them had come up to the counter to ask a question to distract and then the others had just started taking things,” said another witness who spoke with a cashier. “It was like the Keystone Cops. The kids were just running around in a circle, they were smiling, they didn’t seem bothered, they thought it was funny, they barely had anything in their hands but they dropped a lot of what they had stolen, got in the truck and drove away and at that point, I realized they had punched the cashier in the face and she was bleeding.”
The store is located at the north end of the Butler Tarkington neighborhood, home to Butler University and Governor Eric Holcomb. The CVS also sits across Illinois Street from a popular ice cream store and coffee store.
“We’ve got kids that are walking in the neighborhood and riding bikes,” said one witness. “I am worried that someone is going to get ran over by someone fleeing or I talked to a woman who was in the parking lot last night who just told me point blank, ‘I wish I had my gun with me’.”
Coldren said more of her neighbors are recently armed while going for a walk or shopping.
“And more interesting what I heard last night was women,” she said, “that they felt that they needed to be armed to protect themselves, to protect others. What I heard last night was a variety of folks trying to decide what the right thing to do was in the situation.
“I think if it had escalated with the clerk outside with them doing anymore bodily injury, I think it would have and I can only thank everybody for keeping a calmer head that it didn’t happen.”
The neighbors said they would like CVS to either hire security guards for the store or at least block off one exit driveway to prevent thieves from making a quick getaway.
“When Mike Pence was governor, he would ride his bike down this street with his family,” said one woman. “It shouldn’t be so like the wild west out here.”