Illinois Subway employee says she's suspended after fighting off robber

An Illinois Subway restaurant employee says she’s been suspended from her job shortly after a video of her fighting off a robber went viral.

Araceli Sotelo of Rockford, Ill., thwarted a robbery attempt on Sept. 5, 2021, according to leaked security camera footage that was first shared with the public from — a local news outlet that routinely reports on police blotters.

The video, which is timestamped at around 10:38 a.m., shows Sotelo fend off a robber who entered the store and walked directly behind the sandwich counter. As a scuffle between the two continued outside the employee-only section, the unknown assailant dropped his gun and Sotelo quickly retrieved it.


Before the video cuts off, the robber can be seen trying to get his gun back while he has Sotelo’s purse in hand.

Sotelo shared a copy of the video to her TikTok account yadalove07 on Thursday with the caption: "A man came into my job and tried to rob me."

More than 8.2 million people have seen the video on TikTok. While tens of thousands of commenters commended Sotelo for her bravery, she shared an update on Friday saying she’s been suspended from her job following the incident.

Representatives for Subway did not confirm whether Sotelo has been suspended when Fox News reached out for comment.

Instead, a spokesperson wrote: "We are deeply concerned about the recent incident at a franchised location in Rockford, Illinois. The restaurant owner and management are fully cooperating with the police investigation, and we request patience until that process is complete…Every restaurant is independently owned and operated. We are in contact with the franchisee to better understand the situation and assist as needed."

An online fundraiser started by Sotelo’s mother, Sylvia Oviedo, alleges Sotelo has been suspended from work without compensation.

On the crowdfunding website, Oviedo claims Sotelo’s phone was broken and she was left without her ID and debit card when her purse was stolen. So far, the family has raised more than $10,600 and they say the money will be used for attorney fees and lost wages.

Sotelo and Oviedo did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

This isn’t the first time a Subway employee has foiled a stored robbery. In December 2020, Deshawn Richardson of Rochester, Pa., fought off a masked man who tried to steal from a cash register and tip jar. It is not clear if Richardson was suspended.

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