Tulsa Crime Victim Struggling To Move Forward After Armed Robbery

Thursday, February 24th 2011, 9:08 pm
By: News On 6

Lori Fullbright, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Tulsa has an average of 100 armed robberies a month.  One victim, who is struggling to move forward, is surprised how little help is available.

Melanie is a tough cookie. She nursed her parents through cancer, her grandfather through Alzheimers and is herself a breast cancer survivor, who's had 16 surgeries.

Her family never thought anything would get the best of her. But it has.

Melanie worked at A1 Loans more than five years with no trouble, was even voted top employee, twice. But on December 15th, a man with a gun changed her.

"He's holding it at my head, touching my head with the gun. He's mad at me because I'm going too slow, he's saying, hurry up, hurry up, hurry up," she recalled.

Melanie gave him the money he wanted while pressing the panic button for the alarm company, thinking each breath could be her last.

"Then he shoved me and I thought at that point, he was fixing to shoot me," she said.

Instead, he took off and after talking to police, Melanie worked the rest of that day and came back the next and the next. But she found herself crying while driving to work, not sleeping and being a nervous wreck.

"I never imagined it being that way for me," she said. "I've always been pretty tough. If it happened to me, I'd let ‘em have it, you know? But, it wasn't like that at all."

She used vacation time to get counseling and says she was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.

Oklahoma's worker's comp doesn't cover that.

2/22/2011 Related Story: Governor Mary Fallin Releases Plan To Overhaul Workers Comp

Now, she's on unpaid medical leave, paying for a counselor and paying for her own benefits on the company group insurance plan, but they're going to stop that March 1, 2011.

"I was just there, doing my job, being a dependable employee. Somebody who gets fired has more rights than I do," Melanie said.

Melanie doesn't believe she's the only victim struggling and is shocked something isn't in place to offer more support.

News On 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright told Melanie about the victim compensation fund that helps pay victims' medical bills and other related expenses.

She's going to apply to get her counseling bills reimbursed. She just doesn't want to lose the insurance she's paying for, since the robbery happened on the job.