Nathan Lane can be proud of his quick texting skills. The 15-year-old sent a text message from a locked bathroom that ultimately saved his family from a possibly armed robber — and a girl from a potentially dangerous sex offender.
Nathan Lane and his family were visiting Chicago when they decided to stop at a smoothie shop. When Lane’s father, Craig, noticed the menu didn’t offer decaf coffee, he headed out to find some. Nathan settled at a table with his mother, Jagoda, and 10-year-old sister Rebecca.
Suddenly, a bearded man entered the coffee shop and grabbed the female cashier. According to the Lane family, Rebecca burst into tears. Nathan thought, “This can’t be happening.”
“Nobody move,” the man allegedly said. According to the police reports, he had his hand in his coat as if he had a gun. “I don’t want to hurt anyone. I just want the money.” He told the waitress to open the register. When he saw only a few hundred dollars, he reportedly became angry. “That’s it?” he shouted.
The alleged robber then told the Lane family to get to the back of the store. A calm Nathan led his mother and sister to the bathroom, where the robber locked the door. Jagoda insisted that Nathan call his father, but Nathan took her phone and began texting.
Down the street, Craig was waiting in line for coffee when his phone alerted him to the message. He read: Don’t come robber in here call 911.
Something about the text made Craig take it seriously, and he called 911 and alerted police.
Back at the smoothie shop, Nathan deleted the sent message. The alleged robber came to the bathroom and demanded their phones, looking to see if they’d called the police. No outgoing calls had been made.
“I’ll give you 10 minutes. If the cops show up, I’ll shoot each one of you,” the robber told the family, according to the police report.
He then told the cashier to shut the security gate and turn off the lights. From inside the bathroom, the family heard him begin to assault the girl.
“No! You can’t touch me like that!” she screamed, according to a police report. He pushed her against a wall, and she started to cry.
“No crying,” he said. “If you make any more noise, I’m going to choke you.”
He dragged her to the back of the store.
The family then heard police arrive, and the man was arrested. Police told quick-thinking Nathan that he should apply to the police department, and that his calm, quick thinking could have saved his family’s life.
The robber was arrested. William Castle, 43, was a convicted sex offender whose record, according to prosecutors, included a 1993 conviction for attempted rape and other crimes. He was charged with aggravated robbery, unlawful restraint, kidnapping and attempted robbery and held on $1 million bail at the Cook County Jail.
Do you feel better when your kids have cell phones on them?
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