Pizza shop owners stand up to robbers

The owners of Kit Kat Pizza defended their business against robbers on Saturday, March 19. Three teens entered the shop located on 2314 Gottingen Street at approximately 9:40 p.m. wearing ski masks.

By Natascia Lypny

Kit Kat Pizza on Gottingen Street faced its first attack on Saturday (Natascia Lypny photo).

The owners of Kit Kat Pizza defended their business against robbers on Saturday, March 19.

Three teens entered the shop on 2314 Gottingen Street at approximately 9:40 p.m. wearing ski masks.

Owner Samira Kharma says the boys came in and demanded money from her husband, Leo Kharma. “I said ‘I won’t give you money,’ so they ran out,” says Samira, who was behind the counter at the time.

Samira and Leo Kharma were the only people in the store during the attempted robbery. No one was injured.

Despite the owners being outnumbered, they were unfazed by the attack, even when one of the teens showed her a weapon.

Samira says she laughed as one suspect pointed his hand in a gun shape at her face while demanding cash. The suspect then retrieved what appeared to be a real gun from his coat pocket.

“He had a gun—so what?  You know, Lebanese people (like myself) are born with a gun.  We’re not scared from a gun,” says Samira.

She and her husband refused to hand over any money.

“Somebody working might give them money, but I own a business.  I won’t give them money,” says Leo.

Owner Leo Kharma says he was not scared by the incident and cheekily added he would "welcome them back" (Natascia Lypny photo).

The owners called the police, who arrived moments after the incident. However, the punks had already fled eastward towards Heron Walk.

Const. Brian Palmeter says the owners reported to the police that they believed the white gun was a toy.  But Samira admits that she wasn’t sure at the time.

The Kharmas say they think the teens just wanted quick cash or a chance to show off.  They say they never truly felt in danger.  Nevertheless, Palmeter suggests taking precautions.

“What we recommend in a case like this, if you feel threatened and you’re at risk,  cooperate with your assailants and contact the police right away with as much detail that you can gather,” he said.

The police report indicates that the Kharmas described the offenders as “light-complexioned black males,” about 5-6 in height and between 13 and 16 years of age.   Samira says the ski masks made it difficult to see how old they were.

“At this point, we’re hopeful that they’ll be identified and charged with these crimes,” says Palmeter.

He says there is “nothing to suggest at this point that this incident is connected with any other incident.”

Yet this week has shown a string of gun-related incidents involving teens.

On Sunday, a man was approached by a group of eight young people by St. Catherine’s School, one of whom pulled out a gun.  The same day, two men were shot by teens with pellet guns in separate incidents on Creighton Street.  Wednesday, a similar incident occurred at Gottingen and Uniacke Streets, around the corner from Kit Kat Pizza.

Nevertheless, Palmeter describes this part of the North End as no more dangerous than other areas of  Halifax.  The Kharmas agree, saying that in the 27 years they have operated their business, they have never encountered any trouble.

Kit Kat Pizza has no security measures in place, but should anything similar happen in the future, the owners say they will take matters into their own hands by being more aggressive with their attackers.