Customer thwarts armed robbery at Smashburger

A customer carrying a permitted gun thwarted an armed robbery at Smashburger Jan. 19, according to local police.

Police said that on Friday, Jan. 19, at 8:50 p.m., two men, identified as Royshon Ferguson, 21, of 263 Norton St., New Haven and Gregory McLaurin, 22, of 47 Level St., New Haven entered Smashburger at 1590 Boston Post Road armed with a .22 caliber handgun and ordered all the workers and customers into the kitchen at gunpoint. There were three employees and four customers in Smashburger at the time, police said.

While in the kitchen, McLaurin told the manager to open the safe or he would shoot her in the head. The manager opened the safe and McLaurin started taking money out while Ferguson went back to the front to empty the cash registers.

A permitted pistol carrying customer told police that when Ferguson left the kitchen, leaving McLaurin alone, he saw an opportunity to change the situation.

The customer drew his firearm and pointed it at McLaurin. McLaurin panicked and ran out of the kitchen as the customer gave chase.

The customer saw McLaurin run out of the building, leaving Ferguson behind, so the customer approached Ferguson who still had the handgun in his hand and was taking money out of the cash registers. The customer told police that Ferguson also panicked when he saw the customer’s gun.

The customer held Ferguson down and was able to knock the handgun out of Ferguson’s hand. But Ferguson was able to get away from the customer and ran out of the building towards the Boston Post Road.

Both McLaurin and Ferguson ran from the area on foot and were both later apprehended by Milford K-9 Officer Owens and K-9 Zar hiding in the woods nearby. Both were located close to each other and Ferguson was in possession of a large amount of cash, police said.

Ferguson and McLaurin were charged with robbery, threatening, kidnapping with a firearm, carrying a gun without a permit and interfering with police, among other charges.

Both were held on $500,000 bond to appear in Milford Court on January 22.

Police said they later discovered that during the chaos of the situation, two Smashburger employees took cash from the safe after Ferguson and McLaurin ran out of the building.

Jamal McNeil, 26, of 350 Hill St., Hamden and Casey Deloma, 19, of 36 Holly St., Milford, are accused of being in possession of money that would have been in the safe but was left behind during the robbery.

McNeil and Deloma were charged with larceny and conspiracy to commit larceny and were released on a promise to appear in Milford Superior Court on Feb. 13.

The customer who thwarted the robbery, a man being described by some as a hero and a good Samaritan, declined media publicity Monday.