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“Dude, we’re all going to die anyway”, Madison store clerk explains defiance in face of threat

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MADISON (WKOW) - A Madison store clerk says she relied on instincts and experience when she defied a thief's threat to denonate explosives if she failed to turn over money.

20-year old Dawson Uhalt of Madison is charged with felony attempted armed robbery for his actions at Seversin's on Milwaukee Street Jan. 27.

A criminal complaint states Uhalt made a threat to try to get cash from clerk Kristina O'Connell. " 'There's bombs everywhere and if you don't give me all the money, everyone is going to die,' " the complaint says Uhalt told O'Connell.

O'Connell tells 27 News she responded defiantly. "Dude, we're going to die anyway," O'Connell says she told Uhalt in refusing to give in to Uhalt's demands.

"He did not look serious," O'Connell says. "He looked like an angry teenager."

Store surveillance video shows Uhalt reacting to O'Connell's tough stance by grabbing a lottery dispensary machine on a counter and yanking it to the ground as he left empty-handed.

Madison Police say Uhalt was also a suspect that night in an alleged threat at Woodman's grocery store on Milwaukee Street. Authorities say Uhalt surrendered to police. He's been charged with felony, attempted armed robbery in connection to the incident at Seversin's Service Center. Police say there's no evidence Uhalt had explosives, but indications he was under the influence of a drug.

"This guy was for real in trying to take money from me," O'Connell says.

"He felt like a big joke when he came in so I'm just glad that it ended as well as it did," O'Connell says, noting her store was robbed at gunpoint last year. "I have three children so it could have ended a lot worse than it did and I'm very blessed," she says.

A Madison Police news release takes no issue with the store clerk's refusal to back down. And O'Connell is receiving admiration from co-workers and others.

"I've gotten nothing but love from everyone," she says.

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Tony Galli

Reporter, WKOW

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