A mother and daughter activated their inner superheroes to confront an intruder who entered their California business.
On the evening of Aug. 8, Carol Garnier was working late in her catering restaurant, Prepped With Love, alongside her 18-year-old sister and her 23-year-old daughter, Mary Dao.
Staff had left for the night, and the women were cleaning and prepping an order of Italian meatballs, zucchini and pasta. Just then, Dao noticed a man outside the restaurant peering into the window.
He abruptly barged inside.
"We didn't realize that when our last customer left, the front door didn't close and lock all the way," Garnier, 39, told TODAY Parents.
The women said, "Hello, how can we help you?" while informing the man they were closed, but he didn't respond.
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The store's security camera captured the man, who held a beer can, walking toward a refrigerator stocked with prepped meals as Garnier's sister backed away in fear.
That's when Dao walked forward, pulling a long table to the side to form a barrier between them and the man, with Garnier approaching from behind.
When the man opened the fridge and reached for a meal, Dao and Garnier shoved the table in his direction to confine him in a tight spot.
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The man threw his can at Dao, hitting her face. As she ran to call 911, he fled the store, dropping candy and, according to Garnier, a drug substance on the floor.
"I am a mama bear and I'm protective of my daughter and my sister," Garnier told TODAY Parents, adding that she is grateful no one was hurt in the attack.
A spokesperson for the Westminster Police Department in California told TODAY Parents that the suspect, who is homeless, was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon. The spokesperson clarified that the act did not constitute burglary or trespassing.
In California, the charge carries a state prison sentence of two to four years or a county jail sentence of six months to one year. The charge also can be punished with a fine of up to $10,000.
"This business is my livelihood — we are here seven days a week,” Garnier said. “If anyone tries to steal from me or do me wrong, I will fight back. Excuse you.”