TURLOCK (CBS13) – A local music store owner was held up at gunpoint, but instead of being another crime victim, he reasoned with the would-be robber.

It was a typical Friday night at Dale’s Guitar Shop and Music Lessons. Owner Dale Falkenberg was jamming with customers until they were all startled by an intruder.

“Here comes a guy with a gun. He’s yelling ‘Get on the ground! Get on the ground!’ And he’s got a 45 with a silencer, so I thought holy cow, this could be bad,” Dale said.

It could have been really bad, with two teenage customers in the store.

“I was trying to keep him here and brush them that way,” Dale said.

The kids hit the ground while Dale stood right up.

“I said ‘You’re robbing a place that has no money in it. You hit the wrong place,'” Dale said.

Being a mom-and-pop shop in Turlock, Dale’s register was far from full.

“I got $24 in there,” Dale said he told the thief. “You’re gonna get 20 years or better for 24 stinkin’ dollars.”

Instead of anger or fear, this musician showed compassion

“I said, ‘I feel for you now. I know you’ve gotta be in a desperate spot to be doing this, but there’s nothing here for you.

“Who knows, maybe he needed money to feed his family,” Dale said Monday. “If so, I wish he would’ve asked me for a job.”

Longtime customer Alisa Caldwell sings Dale’s praises.

“I’ve known Dale since I was 4,” she said. “He’s family to me. He handled it really well.”

So well in fact, the thief left without a dime. That was the deal Dale offered.

“I’m gonna let you walk out,” he said he told the man. “I’m not going to cal the cops. I’m gonna forget this happened. He says, “OK, I’m sorry.’ He let the gun down and he backed out and he went out the door.”

Covered in a hoody, bandana, gloves, the only way Dale says he’d ever recognize him again would be by voice.

“We all got a heart somewhere,” he said. “Anyway, I got lucky.”

Lucky enough to get an apology from a gunman whose initial intention fell flat.

This isnt the first time the store has been targeted. They’ve broken windows a few times, but alarms have been so loud no one has ever made out with anything.

Dale’s just glad the music will go on.


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