Residents of Port St. Lucie are rattled up after the police reported that an 81-year-old man was carjacked as his wife was shopping inside of a Publix while he was waiting in the parking lot.
Port St. Lucie police were sent to the 700 block of Southeast Becker Road at 6:23 p.m. on Friday in response to a report of an armed robbery of a male who, according to police, was sitting in his car in front of the Publix at the time of the incident.
According to the authorities, the suspect entered the backseat of the vehicle, threatened the victim with a pistol, and told the victim to continue driving away.
Officers said that the suspect then forced the guy to get out of the vehicle in a neighboring neighborhood on Southwest Bradshaw Circle, before departing the area in the stolen automobile with the victim’s wallet, credit cards, and garage opener inside. This information was provided by the suspect to the police.
“This is a very uncommon occurrence,” Port St. Lucie Police Chief Richard Del Toro said. “It’s very brazen and unacceptable, but thankfully we don’t have that kind of criminal activity here in Port St. Lucie,” the person said.
The victim did not sustain any injuries, and according to the police, he went to a neighboring residence, where a kind Samaritan took him back to Publix and assisted him in dialing 911.
Del Toro said that he was not surprised by the fact that individuals came forward to offer assistance. “There is a lot of generosity in this community.”
Officers said that they quickly issued a “be on the lookout” and contacted agencies located in the surrounding areas.
They said that a short time later, the car was seen by Stuart police at a residence located on Southeast 16th Court in the city of Stuart.
After that, detectives say they were able to apprehend the suspect, identified as 18-year-old Reginald Mitchell of Port St. Lucie. Mitchell is charged with armed carjacking, robbery with a firearm, and false imprisonment.
Sheila Peterson, a regular customer at that Publix, said that it was “really scary to even hear something like that.” “That’s really scary to even hear something like that,” she added. Why do they constantly attacking people of retirement age? That’s the worst thing about it. Do you understand what I’m trying to say? That is not a good thing.
“Nobody’s safe anymore,” Don Shaw, who lives not too far away, said.
Maria, Shaw’s wife, chimed in with, “Yeah, it doesn’t seem to be the case.” “There is no way to protect everyone in the city, regardless of how much protection the city has,” the mayor said.
The fact that the incident reportedly took place during the daytime may make it even more unsettling for the elderly couple. The Shaws have said that the possibility that it was really them did cross their thoughts.
“Of course, of course, as you get older you start to think about that like it could be,” Maria Shaw said. “Of course, of course.”
According to Del Toro, the “gun” that Mitchell was carrying was really a toy pistol that he had bought with the intention of robbing a vehicle.
The Shaws expressed their appreciation to the police for their quick reaction, which, according to them, helped them feel somewhat more secure.
Maria Shaw said that “we have a wonderful police department” in our community.