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Rutland man loses job after fending off robber with gun - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Rutland man loses job after fending off robber with gun

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RUTLAND, Vt. -

He fended off a robber with a gun and lost his job because of it.

Don Pitaniello said his employer said he violated company policy by having a gun on him at work. He says he is alive, because he did.

Pitaniello carries a gun at all times and says he's fully in his legal right to do so.

"I do, I always have," said Pitaniello, former Mac's employee.

He had his Smith & Wesson .380 Bodyguard on him Sunday night, when he was working at a Mac's Convenience Store on 145 North Main Street in Rutland. Police say at 9:25 p.m. a robber entered the store armed with a knife. Pitaniello said it was that man who walked over toward him while he was at the register.

"I pulled the gun, kept it down, over toward the register," said Pitaniello.

Then the man told Pitaniello to empty the register.

Pitaniello, a Vietnam-era vet, then said the robber started waving the knife in his face.

"I pulled it up and said get out of here," said Pitaniello.

The would-be robber ran out of the front door and the 58-year-old Pitaniello followed him.

Then he says he went around to the side of the store to make sure that the alleged robber didn't try to get back in through another entrance, but he was gone.

Pitaniello reported the incident to police. He then said his employer suspended him for violating the company's gun-free zone policy. On Wednesday he told us they had another meeting and he willingly stepped down from his position after they couldn't come to agreement.

WCAX reached out to the store's parent company who said Pitaniello resigned and that their policies are customary for the convenience store industry.

"I'm not gonna argue or debate it, I understand policy," said Pitaniello.

Pitaniello has a full-time job at Timberwolf Manufacturing but took on the second job at Mac's because his wife Barbara, has a chronic medical condition, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and they need the extra income to pay expensive medical bills.

"It's for us, my time off we spend together. It's for us, that's why I'm working," said Pitaniello.

He contends he chose his life over a job and he will find another one.

"I'll do it again," said Pitaniello.

Pitaniello describes that in the meeting with his former employer, he questioned what they were doing about keeping employees safe, since the store has been robbed several times. He offered to get trained at the Pittsford Police Academy and get certified to guard the store, but they didn't take his offer.

Police are investigating and say the full surveillance video is evidence and cannot be released at this time. The store's parent company told WCAX News that reacting aggressively to apprehend an intruder goes against policy.

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