Subway Employee Suspended After Surveillance Video of Attempted Robbery Goes Viral

An attempted robbery at a Subway restaurant in Rockford, Illinois was captured on surveillance video and posted to Facebook, where it has since racked up nearly 100,000 views. The employee is seen defending herself against the alleged suspect but said she was suspended from her job.

The employee, Araceli Sotelo, told WTVO that she was scared for her life and decided to fight back during the attempted robbery on Sunday.

Although the video, which was posted to the Rockford Scanner Facebook page, initially does not show Sotelo or the suspect, there is yelling heard off-screen before the two come into frame. The suspect is seen wrestling with Sotelo for her purse, and she threatens to call the police. She manages to get the suspect in a headlock before pulling off his sweatshirt. A gun falls to the floor and Sotelo picks it up and hits the suspect with it before he runs out of the store, leaving her purse behind.

"He kind of just showed me his gun, and I was like freaking out like, 'woah you can't do that please leave," Sotelo told WTVO. "[He said] 'give me all the money' and I said 'I do not have any money, like I do not have any money.'"

Subway Robbery
After defending herself during an alleged robbery, a Subway employee was suspended when surveillance footage of the incident was released online. The employee stated she did not post the video online. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

She said the suspect was smaller than her, so she was able to push back against him before she pulled his sweatshirt off and grabbing the gun after it fell to the floor. When the surveillance footage was posted online, Sotelo said she was told that she would be suspended if she didn't take the videos down.

However, Sotelo told WTVO that she did not leak the video and the owner is now ignoring her.

"They did not want anyone to know, 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," she said.

Text messages obtained by WTVO show a conversation that stated Sotelo was suspended until the videos were taken down. She wrote back and asked how she can take them down if she did not post them.

A spokesperson from the Rockford Police Department told Newsweek that the investigation is ongoing and that they are unsure how the video was leaked. An admin from the Rockford Scanner Facebook page declined to tell Newsweek how they obtained the video.

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

Newsweek reached out to the owner of the Subway location that the attempted robbery occurred for further comment but did not hear back by press time.

Updated 09/10/2021 at 4:36 p.m. ET: This story has been updated to include the Subway surveillance video.

Updated 09/13/2021 at 12:45 p.m. ET: This story has been updated to include a statement from a Subway spokesperson.