Subway worker who fought off armed robber in viral video gets suspended from her job

A Subway worker who amazingly fought off a robber when she was working in the sandwich shop has been suspended from her job due to footage of the incident being circulated online.

Araceli Sotelo was working alone on 5th September, when a masked man entered the Subway restaurant in Rockford, Illinois and robbed her. Despite the robber snatching her purse, Sotelo was able to hold her own as CCTV footage shows her fighting off the robber.

She told Daily Mail : “He kind of just showed me his gun, and I was like freaking out like, ‘woah you can’t do that please leave’.

“[He said] ‘give me all the money’ and I said ‘I do not have any money, like, I do not have any money’. That is all I had and he was just like, ‘give me everything before I hurt you.”

“Stop” and “move” can be heard from Sotelo at the beginning of the footage in an attempt to get the man to leave. The assailant then pushed her into an area behind the service counter. As the two continue to fight, Sotelo tells him she’s going to call the police.

The man was refusing to leave, but Sotelo wasn’t going down without a fight.

“He was smaller than me, so I have that advantage. I’m bigger than him, so I could at least put my weight on him, push him, or something,” she told the same publication.

Sotelo manages to get him in a chokehold and drag him toward the exit door which causes the robber to drop the purse and his gun and the Subway worker is then able to get a hold of the gun and hits the man on the head with the weapon.

She then ordered him to return her purse, but unfortunately, the robber was able to get away with it.

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter ‘The Viral Democracy’

Soon the footage made rounds online, going viral, and Subway subsequently suspended Sotelo as a result. Although she posted the footage on TikTok, Sotelo has denied leaking the CCTV footage herself to WTVO , a local Illinois news outlet.

Since posting footage of the robbery, Sotelo’s video has received 7.8m views, with 1.7m likes and over 73,000 comments from people sharing their shock at the situation.

One person wrote: “She should not have been by herself! This could have ended badly!”

“Girl, I admire you. I’m glad your safe though that took guts fr [for real],” another person said.

Someone else added: “WHY IS no one admiring her courage. I got chills watching her FIGHT for her life. I hope you get compensated for your pain and suffering.”

“He chose the wrong woman. Go off girl that took GUTS you’re incredible,” a fourth person commented.

Until the footage is removed from the internet, Sotelo will remain suspended from her job, she claims to have been told by her employers.

“I have no ability to do that,” Sotelo told the same outlet. “They wanted to be private that it happened to me and that I fought back, but I think they did that because they do not want corporate to know.”

As a result of this, Sotelo’s mother Sylvia Oviedo created a GoFundMe page to raise money to cover lost wages and legal fees.


In the fundraiser description, Oviedo wrote: “Her manager has now suspended her from work leaving her without a job after she heroically defended the store.”

They’re close to reaching their fundraising goal of $20,000 as more than $10,000 has been raised so far (as of September 12).

A Subway spokesperson told Indy100: “We are deeply concerned about the recent incident at a franchised location in Rockford, Illinois. The restaurant owner and management are fully cooperating with the police investigation, and we request patience until that process is complete.”

The Conversation (0)