Hotel clerk robbed on his last day, feared he would die
INDEPENDENCE, MO (KCTV) -
An Independence hotel clerk was robbed Friday morning during his last shift.
The suspect, whom police are seeking, also tried to rob a man and his nephew who were sleeping in their rooms.
Mike Barth worked at the Quality Inn and Suites Hotel just off Interstate 70 for four years. Friday was his last shift before he left to do mission work in the Philippines. He is going to be helping homeless children.
But there was nothing holy about what a man did when he entered the hotel just before 1 a.m. He entered through a door that was broken and attempts to repair it were under way.
Armed with a handgun, the suspect demanded Barth turn over the money or, "I'll let you have it."
Barth quickly turned over the $300.
"I didn't care about the money," he said.
Instead, he was scared he was going to die during his last shift before he could do God's work in a foreign country.
"I was thinking of going to heaven now," he said.
The suspect demanded access to the safe, but Barth told him he didn't have that, enraging the suspect. After ripping out the telephone system, the suspect grabbed room keys from a drawer and began to enter rooms.
The suspect burst into Josh Goucher's room where he was sound asleep.
"I sat up and saw this guy all in black with a gun. I thought this was a nightmare," he recalled as the suspect flipped on the lights.
The man was waving the gun and demanded Goucher's money, wallet and personal belongings. Goucher got out of bed and confronted the man.
"Naw, I ain't giving you nothing," Goucher said he told the man. "And we started arguing."
As he moved toward the suspect, he kept moving toward the door. Eventually, the man fled as the burly Goucher lurched toward him.
He said he believed he had to protect himself and didn't want to give up his belongings.
"I was a dummy for trying something like that," he said about his encounter with an armed man.
He called 911 and his nephew, who was asleep in a nearby room. When his nephew didn't answer, Goucher panicked. The suspect also entered that man's room but didn't get anything.
Both Barth and Goucher described the suspect as wearing dark clothing and a mask. Barth said he was about 5'10" tall and weighed about 190 pounds. He was seen fleeing in a white van, possibly a Dodge Caravan, parked at a nearby gas station.
The hotel is at 4200 South Noland Road.
All three men are thankful that no one was hurt during the ordeal.
"I'm just thankful he didn't shoot me," Barth said, who has been robbed while working at the hotel before. Thankfully, he won't be again.
If you can help police make an arrest, call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS.
KCTV5's Nima Shaffe contributed to this report.
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