Two good Samaritans (pictured above) are being thanked by Florida law enforcement for aiding in the arrest of a home invasion and carjacking suspect on Tuesday.
Ocala police were pursuing Michael Prouty, 39, after he allegedly forced his way into a local woman’s home, robbed her, and stole her car.
“When officers spotted him in Ocala, Prouty fled and crashed into several vehicles and ran away, according to police, who added that a good Samaritan tried to hold onto Prouty, but he was able to get away,” WKMG 6 reported.
Dash cam footage from the incident shows the suspect exiting the stolen vehicle and then running up to a car in the nearby Starbucks drive-thru in a suspected carjacking attempt.
Police body camera footage shows the moment when Prouty opens the passenger door of the unsuspecting female driver, prompting witnesses to move towards the suspect. Another good Samaritan can be seen running ahead of the officer, grabbing Prouty and helping the cops arrest him.
“We are proud of these two citizens for their heroic action, for helping our officers make the arrest, and for keeping our community safe,” said Ocala Police Chief Mike Balken.
The Ocala Police Department released a statement, and the first good Samaritan who attempted to stop Prouty recalled the events from his point of view:
— Ocala Police (@ocalapd) October 26, 2023
“I heard what sounded like a really loud crash. I looked over towards the gas station there on the corner and saw a Cadillac crashed into cars on 441. And I looked over and I watched him get out of the car, then he was running towards me,” the man, identified as Tom Episcopo, said.
There was like a bank truck that was sitting in that driveway that’s heading towards Starbucks from the gas station, so I went around the side of the truck where he couldn’t see me… and kind of addressed him there in between the wall and the truck and said, “You’re not going anywhere.”
Episcopo explained that while he was “outmuscled” by the “bigger” man, he was able to slow him down as police were in hot pursuit.
While the other citizen who aided in the arrest has not been publicly identified, Chief Balken said, “We would like to let these heroic citizens know that we are currently hiring police officers, and we invite them to apply to our agency!”
“Mr. Prouty is currently in the Marion County Jail and is facing multiple charges from our agency, including fleeing and eluding, attempted carjacking, and others,” the department said in a news release. “He was also involved in a robbery of a 7-Eleven convenience store in the early hours of Oct. 24, before the home invasion incident in Sumter County.”