Woman blasts armed robber with fire extinguisher, sends him fleeing

Serviceman had told her it would do the trick

CINCINNATI --  When a gunman attacked an apartment manager and tried to rob her in her office Friday morning, Cheryl Arnold fought him off.

Not with a gun. Or a knife. Or martial arts.

With a fire extinguisher.

Arnold, who works alone in a rental office in Mount Airy, remembered telling her serviceman that she didn’t have a gun and she feared what would happen if someone tried to rob her.

"He was out here one day replacing fire extinguishers and I told him I don't carry a gun and he said, ‘Well, I got something you can use that will be just as good,’ “ Arnold told WCPO after her harrowing experience.

“He said, ‘Keep it at the side of your desk and if you ever need it, just blast him with it because that will do it.’

“And it did," she said.

The robber walked into her office in the 2700 block of Hillvista Lane at about 9:30 a.m., according to Cincinnati police.

The man struck her three times in the head with his gun, Arnold said.

When he demanded the rent money, Arnold said it was in the safe. He started looking around for the money, and that's when Arnold sprang into action.

"He pulled the drawer open and looked, and there wasn't anything in it. He walked around to the front of the desk, and I grabbed the fire extinguisher and blasted him with it!" she said.

"As nervous as he was, he might have shot me. I couldn't get in the drawer to get my mace, but I could reach the fire extinguisher on the floor next to me."

She emptied the extinguisher on the gunman, covering him and everything in her office with a dry chemical.

The fog from the spray filled the room. The gunman must have looked like he was covered in baby powder.

"I couldn't see him because there was so much dust in the room," she said.

The man ran out the door, Arnold said. A canine unit was called in but had no luck finding him.

Police don’t normally advise fighting an armed robber but they did acknowledge Arnold's bravery.

"It's pretty brave," a responding officer said. "That's all she had. It got him out of there."

Afterward, Arnold called her serviceman to thank him for the advice.

"He sounded like he was almost teared up,” she said. “He said, ‘Well, thank you.’ He said he really appreciated me calling him and that it was a good use -  you know, it helped me."

Arnold said she had seen the gunman before on the property and if she sees him again she will call police.

If you know who the man is, or if you saw someone covered in dry chemical, call Crime Stoppers at 513-352-3040.


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