Repairman on roof fends off robbers trying to steal his truck

Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 4:30 AM CST
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HOUSTON (KTRK) - A Texas repairman confronted by three armed men looking to steal his truck was able to get the best of the would-be robbers, forcing them to run away.

Donald Burns, 69, was working Feb. 7 on top of the roof of a Houston convenience store, trying to repair a cooler overnight. Surveillance video shows three men approach about 2 a.m. Burns says one of the suspects had a gun and held it in a ready position.

“I heard them holler, ‘Throw down the keys,’” Burns said.

The suspects wanted Burns’ truck. But the repairman says the vehicle is an integral part of his business, and he could not afford to let them have it.

The man with the gun started climbing the ladder to the roof, as seen in surveillance video.

“About two steps up that ladder, and I grabbed my tool bag. I said, ‘I’m going to smash your brains out, and I’m going to cut you up with this knife. You better go,’” Burns said. “I said, ‘I’m going to get you. I don’t care if you shoot me, but I’m going to get you.’”

Video shows the men retreated then came back. But Burns, with his knife still out, was now on the phone with 911.

“I said, ‘Oh yeah, I’m glad you came back. I couldn’t remember what y’all were wearing. She wants to know.’ ‘One’s got tennis shoes on. One’s got flip flops. They got blue jeans and khakis,’” Burns said.

That’s when the would-be robbers left for good – without taking Burns’ truck.

Burns often works overnight doing repairs at businesses, and he said he has been robbed before at gunpoint. He hasn’t stopped working despite the recent robbery attempt and plays down the fact that he was able to scare off three men with a gun.

“Well, I didn’t have a choice, you know. They brought it to me, and I had to do what I had to do. I could have gotten shot. I’m no hero. But I just wasn’t walking home,” Burns said.

Police are trying to identify the three suspects. Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers of Houston.