Papa John’s employees injured in scuffle with irate customer

On Wednesday evening, September 5, 2012, two employees of a Taunton Papa John’s sat outside the front of their workplace, waiting for the police and nursing injuries. The attack on the coworkers, a man, Derek Lauber, and a woman, left the owner of the restaurant, Jonah Siegel, wondering if conducting business in the city of Taunton, with its rising crime rate, was worth the risk anymore.

Siegel owns four other Papa John’s restaurants. But after three years as proprietor of the one in Taunton, he’s beginning to question the true value of the site. Just a few weeks earlier, on August 11, a robber threatened a Papa John’s employee, a little after midnight, with a knife and made off with $1,900 of the restaurant’s money, according to Siegel. In previous months, and on the same street, a bank and a Rite Aid pharmacy were also robbed. But it was merely a small pizza and a soda that sparked the latest incident.

Police responded to the reported assault at around 7:30pm, finding the two injured employees out front and a gaping hole in the store’s front window. Lauber was bleeding from both arms and hands. He was taken to Morton Hospital where he was treated and released.

Sarah Mosher, the restaurant’s general manager, said she arrived just under a half an hour after the police were called. But by the time she showed up, Lauber, who is twenty and works at the restaurant full time, had already been taken to the hospital. He later called Mosher and assured her that, despite all of the blood present, he only needed a few stitches. He was given the rest of the week off to heal.

The female worker became injured when a customer, described as a 5’5″ white male, became incensed after his order was botched. The customer then demanded a refund. But before the woman could react, the man allegedly cornered her, quickly closing the distance between them as if “he was going to hit her,” according to Mosher. Lauber, who has worked at the restaurant for more than two years, then raced around the counter to end the confrontation, later explaining that he was only interested in diffusing the situation, not escalating it. But a tussle between him and the man led to Lauber slipping and falling through the restaurant’s window. According to Lauber, his blood from the resulting injuries made the restaurant “look like a murder scene.”

The female employee, also twenty and a part-time worker at the restaurant, followed the customer outside to his white Maxima where a woman was waiting for him. He then punched the woman twice in the face, according to Mosher, cutting the inside of her lip. Mosher affirmed that safety is the number one priority for her employees, especially with the perception that crime is becoming a more significant problem in their area. If you work in a similar industry, this list of safety tips in the event of a robbery may be of use to you:

• Cooperate with the robber for your safety and the safety of others. Comply with the robbers demands. Remain calm and think clearly.
• If you have a silent alarm and can reach it without being noticed, use it. Other wise wait until the robber leaves.
• Be careful, most robbers are not professionals and are as nervous as you are.
• Don’t talk except to answer the robber’s questions.
• Don’t stare directly at the robber.
• Prevent surprises; keep your hands in sight at all times.
• Don’t make any sudden moves.
• Don’t chase or follow the robber out of your business. Leave the job of catching the robber to the police.

And if you, or anyone you know, have any concerns or questions in regards to workplace injury, please feel free to contact Altman and Altman at your earliest convenience.


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