Angry mob beats would-be robber in New Bedford
NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WHDH) -- Surveillance cameras were rolling as neighbors turned the tables on a would-be robber in New Bedford.
Police say the crowd stopped the suspected thief from fleeing with money.
In the surveillance video Juan Rodriguez is seen reading his bible on his tablet when a would-be robber attacks him with a knife.
"’Okay, take it easy, relax, I’m going to give you the money you want, take it easy, relax,’” said Juan Rodriguez, store owner.
But the store owner had other plans. Once he got free, he grabbed his own knife.
"I said, ‘now I have a knife. Now I have a knife,’" Rodriguez said.
He then put the knife down, and grabbed a baseball bat instead.
"I said, ‘hey, now who going to take the money now, rock and roll. I’m going to see what happen now,’" Rodriguez said.
That's when the suspect, who police say is 22-year-old Joseph Defreitas, ran out of the store. Rodriguez chased him for several blocks, yelling for help.
Two young guys came running out of nowhere, and do more than help.
"And grab him by the neck. And start punching and kicking him and punching and kicking him and I say, ‘okay, that's enough,’" Rodriguez said.
Two guys quickly turned into an angry mob of a dozen or so, beating the would-be robber and forcing him to strip to his underwear, even though the store owner pleaded for them to stop.
But Rodriguez said the angry mob only became more violent, punching and kicking the suspect.
"Right away I get on top of the body of the kid and I say, ‘nobody going touch this kid no more,’ I said, ‘you not going to touch this kid no more. No, no, no, no,’" said Rodriguez.
The would-be robber was so badly beaten he had to be taken to the hospital. He was treated and released and charged with armed assault.
But police are also investigating the angry mob that beat the suspect, saying vigilante justice will not be tolerated.