OAK PARK, Ill. — When two men — one brandishing a gun — walked into Austin Cleaners and demanded the contents of her cash register last Monday evening, they didn’t count on operator Kim Ja Moon.
The 4-foot, 10-inch Kim, 66, knew the men weren’t regulars. When they asked her to empty the register, she refused. Bracing herself against the counter, she blocked the much larger assailant from getting to the register.
The men then ordered Kim and her husband to the back of the store. Remembering advice from TV’s Cops, she refused. “If I go back of store, maybe I die,” she told the Oak Park Pioneer Press. “I stay here and fight.”
Seeing other customers coming, the men fled on foot, splitting up at an intersection. Kim gave chase, yelling to two regular customers on their way into the store to call the police. Police apprehended the man, 215-pound Courtney Hadley, 26, minutes later.
At the time of his arrest, he had a .380 caliber semi-automatic handgun and $247 cash in his possession. Newly paroled from a six-year sentence on drug charges, he was charged with one count of armed robbery and held on $250,000 bond.
Kim Ja Moon emigrated from Korea in 1973 and owns two successful drycleaning businesses with her husband. She told the paper that her advice to the would-be robbers is to stay in school and work hard.