Good Samaritans try to foil robber

April 1, 2008 9:51:34 PM PDT
A robbery near Houston's upscale Rice Village springs a number of Good Samaritans into action. Police tell us they're not used to investigating a whole lot of crimes in this area of town. As a result of that robbery, some of the nearby business owners are on guard.

Police say it happened Saturday afternoon at a clothing boutique on Bissonnet. They say a man walked inside and forced the clerk into a dressing room, then stole her engagement ring.

Police say the owner walked in on the crime and the suspect pushed her down and ran out the door. Both women ran next door for help.

"She was very shook up and crying and scared of course," said Good Samaritan Velio Deplano.

Across the street at an Italian restaurant, a group of waiters and bartender Velio Deplano were having lunch and witnessed what happened.

"When he saw us coming, he just rushed to his car, we tried to stop him but he got inside his car," Deplano said.

Police say they don't understand why the thief did what he did next.

"First he ran off, then he came back and started banging on the door and drove off," said Officer Mike Thiac of the Houston Police Department.

Deplano says they did all they could to try and stop the man from driving off and the suspect didn't like it one bit.

"He threatened us and said he was going to shoot," said Deplano.

The crime has certainly raised eyebrows in the nearby Rice Village area.

"Anytime we have an incident we are concerned, we are in a pretty safe area," said Chuck Pritchett with the Rice Village Association. "That's kind of brazen, we have meetings every month and advise merchants and employees who to look for."

Even police admit they aren't used to getting calls like this one here.

"It's a pretty safe neighborhood, robberies are, I won't say rare but they aren't very common," said Officer Thiac.

Houston police are asking anyone who may have seen a suspicious man Saturday afternoon near Bissonnet and Greenbriar to call the robbery division.

You can read more about this story in our Houston Community Newspaper partner, the West University Examiner.

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