ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Andre Deis, 32, has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for robbing a Rockford Subway restaurant on September 5th, 2021. Video of the incident went viral on social media after the worker claimed the restaurant suspended her for defending herself.
According to Rockford Police, Deis went into the restaurant, at 1120 E. State Street, wearing a ski mask and pointed a gun at the clerk, demanding money.
The employee, Araceli Sotelo, told police that Deis hit her on the head with his gun multiple times and grabbed her purse.
“He kind of just showed me his gun, and I was like freaking out like, ‘woah you can’t do that please leave,’” Sotelo said of the incident. “[He said] ‘give me all the money’ and I said ‘I do not have any money, like, I do not have any money.’ That is all I had and he was just like, ‘give me everything before I hurt you.’”
Surveillance video of the robbery was released online, showing Sotelo fighting back against the robber and taking his gun.
“He dropped it trying to hold onto my purse, and I end up pulling his sweatshirt off him and I was like ‘show your face, show your face, you are on camera.’ and he was like ‘here you can have your purse back just give me back my stuff.’ He wanted me to give him back his gun and his clothes,” Sotelo said. “I just hit him on the head with it, that is what he was doing to me.”
The weapon was later found to have been a BB gun, police said.
Sotelo was suspended after video of the incident made its way online and racked up more than 8.2 million views on TikTok.
Sotelo then claimed that she was suspended by her manager for posting video of the incident online, although she claimed she did not post the video.
Subway’s corporate headquarters did not confirm the suspension, saying “We are deeply concerned about the recent incident at a franchised location in Rockford, Illinois. The restaurant owner and management are fully cooperating with the police investigation, and we request patience until that process is complete.”
According to a GoFundMe, Sotelo raised $20,615 which will be used towards attorney fees and lost wages.