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CONROE A trio of jewel thieves in Conroe picked the wrong store to rob Wednesday. They ran into a man determined to protect his 77-year-old mother and their family business.

I wanted em, said Mitch Wilkins after the robbery at Wilkins Jewelers in the 1700 block of N. Frazier St.

The suspects pulled out guns and terrorized the mother and son.

Wilkins was pistol-whipped and his mom was held at gunpoint by the three robbers.

The woman held me with two of her hands. The man held me with one of his hands and the gun in the other, said Shirley Wilkins.

One robber fired his pistol while fighting with Mitch.

This is where one of the rounds fired. My mother is literally standing right here, pulled across the counter. So this was that close to her, Mitch said.

The frightened robbers ran for the door.

That s when Shirley Wilkins realized that one of them had dropped a gun.

Yes, he and I were both behind the counter. And the people had fled, Shirley remembered. He [Mitch] said, Hand me my gun. We keep guns. He said, Hand me my gun. And I did. The nearest one I found. It must ve been on the floor.

My mother picks up this gun that s actually theirs. And blood s streaming down my face. And they have paused. I mean, they ve made their way out, said Mitch. And it s like a huddle or something, who knows what? And of course, this other man is still armed. And, I mean, I returned fire.

Mitch not only shot at them with one of their own guns, he chased them outside.

People running out from nearby businesses managed to catch two of the three robbers. The third one got away.

After being treated for minor injuries, Mitch and his mom will be back at work Thursday.

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