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Lawmaker fends off robbers with a club

Associated Press

BRAINERD, Minn. -- Maybe it's all that fighting at the Legislature.

A state senator said he used a wooden club to scare off two men who were trying to rob his liquor store.

Sen. Paul Koering, who owns Max's Package Liquor in Brainerd, said he was working Saturday night when two men wearing hooded sweatshirts and scarves over their faces entered the store about 8 p.m.

When Koering asked what they wanted, the men tapped the cash register with an aluminum baseball bat and said, "This is what we'll have," the Republican from Fort Ripley recalled Monday.

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Koering told the Brainerd Dispatch that he grabbed the club left behind by the previous owners of the store and, in his words, "just kind of exploded into a rage." He slammed the club on the counter, took a swing at the men and yelled "a few choice words," prompting them to flee on foot.

"I thank God there wasn't somebody else working for me," Koering said. "It was kind of surreal. I don't know why I reacted the way I did."

Chief John Bolduc said he wouldn't recommend that people in similar situations confront criminals like Koering did.

"You just don't know," Bolduc said. "In this case, it worked out. For whatever amount of money, it's not worth one's being injured or assaulted with a weapon."

But Koering, who said crime is growing as the city grows, said he was glad he brandished his club.

"I hope it sends the message that Brainerd people aren't going to just lay down to crime moving in," he said.

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