RIVERVIEW, Fla. (WSVN) — A woman was roughed up and almost robbed in broad daylight outside of a Publix supermarket near Tampa when a man went on the attack over her car keys, but a pair of good Samaritans rushed in to save her from danger.
Billie Richert sad she had just finished ringing bells for the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign at at a Publix location in Riverview when the a man approached her and demanded her car keys, Monday afternoon.
“You think you’re going to have time to react, and you really don’t. It happens so quickly,” she said.
Surveillance video released by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office shows the suspect, Robert Moore, sitting on the curb as Richert walked by him.
When Moore demanded her keys, Richert said, she refused.
“I’m not going to let him steal my joy. Not at all,” she said.
Richert said she told the assailant to get away, warning she would use pepper spray.
It was at that moment that Moore threw her to the ground.
“I could have broken a bone. I could have cracked my skull. He could have stabbed me,” said Richert.
In the packed parking lot, a customer heard Richert’s scream, kicked off his flip-flops and ran over to help.
“You know, I’m blessed, and then I had a friend that I didn’t even know that caught him and detained him, and that was my angel. It really was,” said Richert.
The good Samaritan served more than a decade in the U.S. Army and asked not to show his face. He suffered two broken fingers, and he said another young man also helped him pin the suspect down until deputies arrived.
“It wasn’t a thought. It was a reaction, it was a reflex, and it’s something that I think that every man should have when he sees something like that,” said the good Samaritan.
Richert praised the two men who helped her, and she warns everyone to be more aware of their surroundings.
“They were terrific, you know, in this day and age, for somebody to get involved in something that they know nothing about and to help somebody, especially an elderly person, it was fantastic, it really was. Thank you,” she said.
Deputies arrested Moore. The 42-year-old faces several charges, including robbery by sudden snatching and battery for a victim over 65 years old.
Copyright 2024 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.