Good Samaritans stop ATM robbery

- It was an all-out brawl at a drive-thru ATM.  Fists flew, adrenaline was pumping, and a super-hero good Samaritan started swinging, fighting to save the lives of strangers.  

The dramatic scene was captured on surveillance camera video, so heart-stopping, it brought the good Samaritan’s wife to tears.

It all started around 7 a.m. at the CHASE Bank on South Orange Blossom Trail near Stable Drive.  The wife was sitting in the driver’s seat, making a deposit, when a man appeared from the back side of the ATM, stuck the top half of his body through her window and grabed her purse.  

Deputies said the suspect also grabbed the woman by her throat and pulled out a box cutter when she refused to give up her belongings. The woman and her husband tried fighting off the armed suspect.

Deputies said the suspect hit the wife with such force, the car was shaking.  The wife somehow got the car in drive and started honking her horn.  That got the attention of Leon Wright and another bystander.

“We hear horns blowing like, 'Bah bah bah… bah bah bah!' like people are frantic. 'Bah bah bah!” Wright explained. 

Wright and the other man ran over to help.  

“I see arms swinging in the car,” said Wright.  

At first they thought it was a husband and wife fighting.  

“And then the old man rolls the window down and says, 'Help us, please!' and I look over and there’s a guy’s head in the car,” Wright explained.  

So he ran around to the driver’s side, going after the suspect, trying to pull him out the car window.

“I just start pounding on this guy's back, trying to hit him where ever I could,” said Wright.  

He then chased the suspect away, but suddenly, Wright said the suspect turned around and pulled the box cutter him.  

“I fell backwards. I lost my footing.”  

Wright fractured his elbow and shattered his wrist in that fall.  Still, he doesn’t regret helping two strangers in need.  

“I’d rather for my arm to be injured than him cutting her throat,” said Wright.

Wright underwent surgery. Six weeks have gone by, and he still has pins sticking out of his wrist.  He is hoping to get those removed later this week, although the doctor said he’ll be in a cast for at least another month.

Authorities are still looking for this suspect.  If you recognize him, call CRIMELINE 1-800-423-TIPS (8477). 
 

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