...Sarah Person, owner of Exclusively Diamonds in Mankato, always wondered if she'd be able to scream if she was in trouble.
"I'm just not a screamer," she
reflects more than two years later.When a man posing as a FedEx delivery person grabbed her
remembers the sound was deafening.The attempted abduction and threats to her
family's life proved she
was - and is - a fighter as well as a screamer.
later discovered that Romero and his accomplice, James Rockenback, had possibly followed her to Caribou Coffee that morning.
"I ran across the street waiting for the bullet to hit me any second - wondering how much it would hurt," says Sarah
, a petite woman in her
early 40s.After entering City Auto Glass
, a neighboring business, she
was barefoot, having lost her
shoes in the escape.
"When I saw the struggle and heard Sarah
scream my throat went dry and I just reacted - I don't know why," says Charmaine.
I never wash or vacuum my car anywhere except at home, yet that day I vacuumed it in the end stall in town where I could see and hear Sarah's
struggle and take action."
To Succumb or To OvercomeExclusively Diamonds
moved from its "private" upstairs location in downtown Mankato to its new store on Mankato's hilltop in 2000."We knew we'd be more visible," acknowledges Sarah
, "but we'd been in business 20 years and nothing had happened to make us feel threatened in any way."
Three years later at the new hilltop store, Sarah
was attacked as she
entered the business at 8 a.m. for her
hour of "creative time" - an hour before her
staff arrives for the day.
"I was extremely frightened immediately after the attack," recalls Sarah
, "but two hours later when they told my husband, Chris, and me, to get the kids and take them to a secure location - but not to our home - that really shook me."
"The thought of someone hurting my kids changes everything," she
says softly as she
According to Sarah
, the Person's home was in lock-down for a couple of months."I was fearful," she
says and perhaps the hardest thing, however, was letting her
kids out of her
sight."Chris had to remind me that it was okay to let them ride their bikes to the neighbors," she
fighting spirit, Sarah
opened Exclusively Diamonds
for business the day of the assault.
"We started the next day with a staff meeting and invited Trudy Kunkel from the Mankato Department of Public Safety
," says Sarah
."Trudy had spent the previous day in the store, working it as a command center, and I wanted her
here to answer any questions.The staff knew Trudy from earlier safety training sessions at the store."
Today the staff at Exclusively Diamonds
holds practice scenarios for robberies, attacks, or abductions during their weekly staff meetings."We know that every action or inaction during a crisis affects not only ourselves but everyone around us," stresses Sarah
attended the hearings of Romero and Rockenback in Federal Court.
"It was difficult to confront them but I felt I had to know everything about them," recalls Sarah
"It really made me stronger as a person," stresses Sarah