Vail Valley clerk realized robber’s gun was fake |

Vail Valley clerk realized robber’s gun was fake

Sarah Mausolf
Vail, CO Colorado
Special the Vail Daily/Eagle County Sheriff's OffiA surveillance camera captured a suspect in a armed robbery at Edwards Liquors Thursday night

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado – Matthew Volk said he was working at Edwards Liquors Thursday when the night took a strange turn.

“Next thing I know, I see this guy come in and he’s got a gun in my face,” he said.

The man with the gun shouted at Volk to give him money from the register. That’s when Volk noticed the gun looked fake.

“I realized right away it was not a real gun because of the barrel shape,” the 42-year-old Army veteran said. “I was not as scared as if it had been a real gun.”

Volk said he managed to reach down and pop the emergency alarm – right as the robber sprayed him in the eye with mace.

“It really burned,” Volk said. “I couldn’t see out of that eye.”

Volk then learned the hard way that the robber’s gun was a pellet gun.

“He emptied his whole gun on me,” Volk said. “It hurt. It felt like being hit with a salt gun.”

Reeling from the pellet attack, Volk reached under the counter and grabbed a ball-peen hammer staff keep there for self-defense. He swung the hammer once at the robber, then chased him out of the store.

“I was yelling and screaming at him,” Volk said. “My adrenaline was flowing like crazy. I was mad more than anything else but I was happy he didn’t get anything from the store.”

The suspect fled in what appeared to be an older model brown car, according to a release from The Eagle County Sheriff’s Office. The attempted robbery happened around 8:15 p.m., Volk said.

Police ask anyone with information about the suspect to call the sheriff’s office at 970-328-8500 or contact Eagle County Crime Stoppers at 970-328-7007, 1-800-972-TIPS or, the release said.

Volk said the robber looked like he was about 50 or 60 years old. Descriptions suggest the man is white, between 5’7″ and 5’9″ tall and 170 to 180 pounds, the release said. The suspect wore a gray AC/DC hoodie, the release said.

“Hopefully they find him,” Volk said. “That’s my main concern because I don’t want to see this happen to someone else in the community.”

Edwards Liquors owner Ken Sady said the incident marked the first armed robbery at the store since he bought it 10 years ago.

“You hear about it in big cities,” he said. “We’re not in a big city but I suppose it’s everywhere.”

Sady said he’s thinking about getting pepper spray for his clerks at the store at 429 Edwards Access Road, Unit A204.

“It’s scary to think you have to buy pepper spray, being a small liquor store in a small town,” he said. “It was a full moon. The full moon brings out these bozos.”

The day after the robbery, Volk, who was at work, opened his plaid shirt to reveal dark bruises on his chest, back and triceps where three pellets struck.

“They’re sore,” the Edwards resident said. “It’s probably going to get worse, too, because it hasn’t hit the muscle yet.”

Volk said he doesn’t plan to let a few pellet wounds stop him from lifting weights.

“I have a high level for pain so it doesn’t really matter,” he said.

High Life Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or

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