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Robbery victim: 'He came flying over the top'

Couple describes robbery -- from both ends of the phone line

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Angie and Cy Hirsche

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Robbery
Utah

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- In a robbery of a check-cashing business caught on surveillance camera, a clerk in Orem, Utah, resisted her attacker, then helped police identify the suspect.

As the robbery unfolded Saturday, Angie Hirsche's husband, Cy, happened to call her on the phone and helplessly heard everything from the other end of the line.

CNN's Miles O'Brien spoke with the couple Wednesday about what happened. (Watch incident on tape -- 1:57)

O'BRIEN: Angie, let's -- let's go through this. This person came in, and did you realize immediately that this was potential trouble?

A. HIRSCHE: Initially, when he came flying over the top of the counter at me, I thought it was maybe a joke -- my husband is playing a joke on me, a cruel joke on me. And...

O'BRIEN: Ooh. That would be a cruel one, wouldn't it?

C. HIRSCHE: Yes, I wouldn't do that.

O'BRIEN: No.

A. HIRSCHE: And I quickly learned that, no, it was now a life-and-death situation very quickly.

O'BRIEN: All right. So, as we look at this video camera, just kind of following it, he's dragging you around. What's he saying to you? We don't have the audio here. What are you saying back to him?

A. HIRSCHE: He's saying, "Get the money. Get the money."

I said, "You can have the money; you can have everything. It's all in the safe. You have to get the keys from the counter. Hand them to me." And I just quickly wanted to walk him through, you know, what I was doing, so he didn't think I was going to do any sudden moves. And...

O'BRIEN: ... The money bag is on the floor ... Did you know that this gun was fake? At what point did you figure that out?

A. HIRSCHE: I figured it out shortly after. It took me a minute to figure it out. But shortly after he had arrived I figured that it was a fake gun, but it was his physical presence that scared me more than the gun, real or not.

He was so -- he was 6'6. He was so overpowering that I knew there was no way I could physically dominate him. So I started to try and emotionally and mentally talk him into, you know, not hurting me and letting me go.

O'BRIEN: At some point in the midst of this, Cy, you called? Just by happenstance? Is that what happened?

C. HIRSCHE: Yes. It's something that we do, you know, whenever she is working or I'm working ... And unfortunately, it wasn't, and ... he, as you can see in the video, rips the phone off the table and thinks he's unhooked it, but actually just removed the receiver. So I could hear everything.

O'BRIEN: OK. So you're hearing what is horrifying at this point.

C. HIRSCHE: Absolutely.

O'BRIEN: I can't even imagine. So I assume you're getting on your cell phone, doing 911, trying to get the police over...

C. HIRSCHE: Exactly.

O'BRIEN: ... and also listening to what you hope doesn't become even more horrifying.

C. HIRSCHE: Exactly.

O'BRIEN: All right. So as you listen to this, were you pretty impressed with how Angie handled this?

C. HIRSCHE: Oh, I was -- I was amazed. I mean, it was terrifying. It's hard for me to watch this now.

He just had no reason to be so rough on her. And she just did such a great job. I mean, when he came over, you can see her head hit, and it just nailed her.

But at this point she's going, you know, "I won't move, I won't move, I won't move a muscle. Please, just leave me alone."

And I'm freaking out, going, "What's going on? Get out of there! What the heck?"

And I called the police and, you know, they got on their way. And then Angie just acted so great. I mean, she did everything exactly right.

He actually tried to take her out of the -- out of the office into a bathroom, and God knows what would have happened at that point.

O'BRIEN: ... You recognized this guy. He had been in there as a customer. You are able to give police the information. He is arrested. That's all good.

C. HIRSCHE: Absolutely.

O'BRIEN: Final question, Angie and Cy. Angie, are you going to work alone there ever again?

A. HIRSCHE: Absolutely. I'm not going to let him hold me back.

C. HIRSCHE: We're going to make some changes, though ... We're absolutely going to put a full-glass retainer like the banks have and just remove that option from even happening. And, you know, Angie's so brave and would love to do it, but from a husband's standpoint, I'm going to make sure that my family is not in harm's way, or our employees, for that matter.

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