Editor’s note: Louise Pira Chiarelli and Mike Chiarelli provided the material for this article. Any errors are the responsibility of the writer.
Two well-dressed men hid outside Pira Hardware one morning. They were waiting for someone to open the store. With pistols in their waistbands, they were certain they would reap a windfall of cash.
Their chance at the loot was not long in coming. Annie Pira walked around the building and opened the doors right on time, and just as they hoped, she was alone. Now was their chance. One small woman didn’t stand a chance against two armed thugs.
Annie entered the store and prepared for business as usual. She didn’t have any idea that the first customers at her family store on 9th and D streets that day would be two hold-up men.
While Annie went about her routine of preparing for the business day, one of the men slipped around the counter where she stood and shoved his hand over her mouth. With the other hand, he pulled out a revolver and put it to her head and said he would kill her if she didn’t give him all the cash she had in the front drawer...