Shop owner chases off robber, protects daughter

PARKERSBURG – He brought a knife. She had a Taser.

Parkersburg Police are investigating an attempted armed robbery at the Too Small Shop, 1100 Murdoch Ave., in which the suspect allegedly fled after the business owner fired off a Taser she kept by the cash register.

Brandy Buracchio, who purchased the clothing and consignment business that had been in south Parkersburg and opened it on Murdoch a year ago today, was closing up after working late at the shop Thursday when a man in his mid-20s entered the store. Buracchio’s 6-month-old daughter was on a blanket behind the counter.

“I told him that we were closed, and he said he wanted to look around,” she said.

Buracchio told him he could come back during regular business hours Friday, and he repeated he wanted to look around. When she emphatically told him the shop was closed, she said, he approached the counter.

“When he got to the counter, he told me to basically give him all the money in my register,” she said.

The man produced a 2- to 3-inch knife and said something to the effect of “I’m not (expletive) playing,” Buracchio recalls.

Thinking of her daughter, Buracchio grabbed the Taser off the counter by the cash register.

“I took the Taser, popped it one time, and he jumped back,” she said. “I don’t know what in me just reacted, but when it did, I told him, ‘I’m not joking (either).'”

Buracchio said the man ran for the door and she came around the counter to pursue him. She attributed it to a “Mama Bear” instinct.

“I almost chased him out of the store into the parking lot,” she said.

The incident happened around 7:10 p.m. Thursday. Police responded and canvassed the area but were not able to locate the suspect.

The man is described as a white male in his mid-20s, about 5 feet, 10 inches tall and wearing a dark-colored, hooded sweatshirt.

Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin said the department does not advise people to confront potential thieves, noting it’s not worth risking injury. However, he said he does believe in the right to defend oneself.

“In this case, it worked out well for the store owner,” he said.

Buracchio admitted she’s had plenty of second thoughts about what she did.

“When it was all said and done, I thought, ‘That was a really stupid thing to do,'” she said.

Buracchio said in the year she’s owned the store, she’s had items stolen and property damaged, and it frustrates her to have to pay for others’ misdeeds.

“It’s not fair,” she said.

Anyone with information on the investigation is asked to call the Parkersburg Police at 304-424-8444 or leave an anonymous tip online at parkersburgpolice.com.