A 65-year-old woman was attacked recently while walking through a Publix parking lot in Riverview, Florida, and law enforcement have identified the suspect.
Billie Richert suffered some minor injuries such as scrapes and bruises when the incident happened, Fox 13 reported Thursday.
Security cameras capture Salvation Army bell ringer attacked in Publix parking lot https://t.co/qpH5t46Z0R
— Julie Salomone (@JSalomoneTV) December 8, 2023
The elderly woman was walking to her car after finishing her shift as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign. The suspect, identified as Robert Moore, 42, was sitting on a nearby curb.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) shared a mugshot of the suspect on Tuesday:
🌟 stepped up Monday at Publix on Boyette Road, helping a 65-year-old woman under attack by a would-be robber.
Robert Moore, 42, approached the woman in the parking lot, knocking her to the ground and stealing her keys. pic.twitter.com/S76jBZ7ksz
— HCSO (@HCSOSheriff) December 5, 2023
When he saw the woman, he got up and ran towards her. The man allegedly demanded she hand over her keys, but Richert refused to comply.
“And he was still all over me. And I told him to leave me alone. I told him to get away. And I screamed, and I said, ‘I have pepper spray, and I’m going to spray you.’ Well, I turned around and went like that, and he grabbed my keys and took off,” the woman recalled.
When she fell on the pavement, another citizen ran to tackle the suspect and someone else joined the effort to hold onto the man until law enforcement got to the scene.
One of the citizens, a man named Dan who is an Army veteran, said he believed the suspect was on drugs.
“I really didn’t give it any thought. I saw it and just blacked out. I really don’t remember catching him or throwing him down,” he explained.
Per the HCSO, Moore was arrested and charged with robbery by sudden snatching, battery (victim over 65), and battery.
Images show the victim and an aerial view of the parking lot where the incident happened:
Video: Salvation Army bell ringer attacked in Riverview Publix parking lot calls good Samaritans her angels https://t.co/OWIw4GDlRT
— FOX 13 Tampa Bay (@FOX13News) December 7, 2023
When speaking of the men who came to her aid, Richert said she was blessed by their presence.
“They came to my rescue. I didn’t break a bone. I could’ve been stabbed. I could’ve been shot or anything. I’m blessed,” she commented.
Although Dan was scraped up and broke two of his fingers during the altercation, he was relieved he was able to step in and assist in the situation.
According to the Salvation Army website, “Everywhere, public contributions to Salvation Army kettles enable the organization to continue its year-round efforts at helping those who would otherwise be forgotten.”