My wife works in the pharmacy of a CVS/Walgreens/Eckerd-type place as an intern pharmacist. She graduates in May and will take her state boards shortly thereafter to be a full-fledged pharmacist. She rarely works in the retail pharmacy as most of her time is taken up by her clinical rotations for school, but when she does work there she carries. She carries quite often when we're out together and self-defense is just about as important to her as it is to me. She's a good shooter and has the mindset to defend herself if necessary.
Yesterday (Sunday) she worked 10-5, after which we were going to head to a church function. Because of the trip to church, it was easier and faster for me to pick her up and pick her car up on the way back. So I pull the Jeep in the parking lot and back into a space so I'm facing the store door and the sun isn't shining directly on me. I was a little early and knew I would have to wait a bit, so I was people-watching. Got annoyed at a few people for parking in handicap spots who obviously weren't handicapped, spotted a few people who I'm sure were there for Sudafed to make meth.
The store's door is one where they sort of cut off the corner of the building and set the door there so it faces at a diagonal from each adjacent wall, if that's clear at all. Like this. From where that picture was taken, I'd have been off-camera to the left, a little too far left to see down the right side of the building. This particular store is in a not-so-nice part of town. The closest I've ever come to pepper-spraying an individual was nearby.
After I've sat for a few minutes, a black, mid-2000s Jeep SUV pulls into the parking lot and pulls forward into a spot across and a spot left from me. So adjacent to the building. Late 30's to early 40's Caucasian woman at the wheel, two late 20's to early 30's black passengers, one in the front passenger seat wearing a doo-rag, the other in back, and an older black passenger, probably late 40's also in the back. The older gentleman, wearing dark pants and a white t-shirt, enters the store and spends several minutes inside. I didn't think much about the group until he came out of the store. He gets back in the vehicle and the two other black passengers exit, doo-rag-man wearing a very large, baggy red shirt.
I find it a bit odd that they wouldn't have just saved time and done their business at once. Makes me curious and intent on watching them. What happens next is what makes me nervous. Immediately after they hit the sidewalk and are still on their way to the door, the female driver backs the vehicle out and does a 3-point turn, backing the vehicle into the same spot. I back in either when I want to be watching in a certain direction, or when I think it'll be easier to get out when I'm done. The sun was shining from the right side of the picture I linked to, so backing in would have made the sun worse for the driver, not better, if that was the goal.
Under other circumstances I'd have probably gotten my phone out and been ready to call the cops and relay details if it looked like anything went down. I'm no hero. But my wife was in there. Right about this time they were starting to close down the pharmacy and count down registers. Any robber who did their homework would know that. I may not be Batman, but if there really is something going down I'm there and the cops aren't. And anything that involves my wife involves me. Two possible scenarios hit me. One: that they could be making separate purchases of things that would raise suspicion if bought together. Second, that the first person cased the place, and the other two could be robbing it.
The second possibility hit me like a ton of bricks and I went into full-on red-alert. I waited about 15-20 seconds after they went through the doors, locked the Jeep, pocketed my phone and made my way inside, fully aware of and resigned to the possibility of having to shoot someone to protect my wife. Walked past the registers, where I couldn't see the two, and continued about halfway down the West side. Cut through the middle of the building and glanced down each aisle. Spotted them on the hardware/household chemicals aisle. Continued to the pharmacy area and planted myself firmly there right as they were closing the security screen over the counter. She handed me her bag and keys and went back behind the security door as the new register system was having issues. Waited about 5-10 minutes until the pharmacist told her to just head out, that she'd take care of the rest.
We made our way out of the store and the black Jeep was gone when we got to my Jeep, so it seems nothing went down. Maybe the driver tipped them off, since they had to have seen me when they pulled in. My window was down on that side. Maybe something spooked them. Maybe they were there making separate purchases to reduce suspicion.
Or maybe they really did just remember something they needed after the older gentleman got in, and I'm just being paranoid. I asked her afterward and she said she didn't remember the first gentleman specifically, but they did apparently sell a ton of Sudafed at the end of the day. I know the other two didn't make it back there.