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Ladd Surprenant, an 18-year-old recent WLHS grad, told thief 'no' despite threats to his life

COURTESY PHOTO: SPACE AGE - A still from security video at the Space Age shows a hooded man walking up to the register where Ladd Surprenant was counting money.Ladd Surprenant was wrapping up his third-ever shift at the Space Age gas station on Willamette Drive in West Linn around 9:15 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15, when a masked and hooded man walked through the door and demanded the money Suprenant was counting from the till.

Surprenant, an 18-year-old who graduated from West Linn High School this June and recently began his first term at Clackamas Community College, wasn't trying to be brave when he flatly told the man "no."

"He said very firmly, 'Give me all your freaking money. Give me all your freaking money.' I'm not going to use the curse words," Surprenant recounted. "And I said, 'I'm not giving you anything.'"

Surprenant picked up his phone, and told the man he would call the cops.

The man said, "Please call the cops, but if you do, you're not going to wake up tomorrow," and then fled on foot according to Surprenant.

Police showed up a few minutes after Surprenant called, and he told them someone attempted to rob the gas station.

"I wouldn't have given him anything unless I saw he had a loaded gun. I don't think he had it in himself to hurt me," Surprenant said. "I still think he was a criminal because he was calm. This wasn't his first time, in my opinion. He seemed like he'd done this before."

PMG PHOTO: HOLLY BARTHOLOMEW - Ladd Surprenant, the gas station attendant in the Oct. 15 attempted robbery at Space Age, currently is a freshman at Clackamas Community College. The teenager said he thought his reaction to the attempted robber was normal.

"I thought everybody did what I did," he said. "I'm not even trying to sound tough or anything."

Despite Surprenant's insistence that what he did was nothing special, Chael Sonnen, a former Ultimate Fighting Championship athlete and close family friend of Surprenant's, was impressed.

"I was a professional fighter and I would have given the money up," Sonnen said.

Surprenant said he was rattled by the encounter and returned to the gas station the next day to tell the owner he was quitting the job.

West Linn Police Department Public Information Officer Bill Garland said police were unable to locate the suspect.


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