Subway worker says she’s suspended after fight with robber ended up on TikTok

A  worker at an Illinois Subway restaurant who grappled with an alleged armed robber is reportedly out of a job for the time being.

Araceli Sotelo claims that her employer has suspended her after the leaked surveillance video of the battle with the ski-mask-wearing alleged thief at the Rockford, Ill., store went viral on social media.

Sotelo, who was working alone when the man entered the store and demanded money on Sunday morning, September 5, claims that management told her the suspension would continue until the video of the scuffle gets taken down, WTVO reported.

She has insisted that she didn’t post the footage that initially went up on the Rockford Scanner website and has no ability to scrub it.

“I get a call yesterday it was like, ‘if every one of these videos are not taken offline you will be suspended,’ and then I texted them and I’m like ‘how long am I suspended for?’ They said till everything is removed online. I have no ability to do that,” Sotelo told a reporter.

The intense video is now purportedly posted on her TikTok account, however, with the audio preamble “A man came into my job and tried to rob me.”



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Sotelo disclosed to local news outlets that amidst the confrontation, she told the suspect that there was no money in the store and that she would refrain from calling the cops if he just left.

“He kind of just showed me his gun, and I was like freaking out like, ‘Woah, you can’t do that please leave,’” Sotelo said. “[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.’”

The man apparently didn’t take the hint, and instead grabbed for her purse. That’s when she decided to fight back using her height advantage, thereby thwarting the attempted robbery.

“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,” Sotelo said.

(Video: WTVO)

While they grappled, the alleged assailant dropped his gun, and the video shows her clocking him in the head with the weapon after he asked her to give him back “his stuff” in exchange for her purse.

“He dropped it trying to hold onto my purse, and I end up pulling his sweatshirt off him and I was like ‘show your face, show your face, you are on camera.’ and he was like ‘here you can have your purse back just give me back my stuff.’ He wanted me to give him back his gun and his clothes,” Sotelo recounted. “I just hit him on the head with it, that is what he was doing to me.”

The courageous clerk also claims that the store owner wants to keep the incident under wraps, as it were.

“They didn’t want no one to know; they wanted to be private that it happened to me and that I fought back, but I think that they did that because they do not want corporate to know,” she said.

As yet, there is no official confirmation of the worker’s suspension, though WTVO noted that she claims the “owner is now ignoring her.”

A police investigation is underway.

A Subway corporate spokesperson provided Fox News with the following statement:

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…Every restaurant is independently owned and operated. We are in contact with the franchisee to better understand the situation and assist as needed.


The alleged thief did not make off with any store cash, but he reportedly broke Sotelo’s phone and fled with her purse. The Subway worker’s mother has set up a GoFundMe page which has raised about $15,000 as of this writing for legal fees and lost pay.


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