The suspect apparently saw church member Nancy Duffield, a 60 year member of the church, near the entrance to the church. He allegedly demanded money from her, and ran away when Duffield yelled for help. He was armed with a stick, probably the handle of a toilet plunger.
According to the Oakland Press, “The Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office issued charges Monday for one count of unarmed robbery against Pontiac resident Russell Arnold, 42, after he allegedly tried to rob the senior citizen around 10 a.m. Sunday at the church, which is located in the 90 block of Wayne Street near East Huron Street and Woodward Avenue.”
Deputies advised the suspect is a known felon with a long criminal history, and was on parole at the time of the incident. He was not a member of the church or a regular attender.
Maybe after this he will be because the victim is apparently a very forgiving person. According to Oakland Press reports she stated, “God works in mysterious ways, maybe this is it. Maybe his life will turn around.”
Based upon the victim’s description of the suspect, he was located by the police blocks away from the church who returned 20 minutes later for an identification.
Deputies found him with the wooden handle and two crack pipes. He was later taken to the Oakland County Jail, pending a warrant for attempted armed robbery.
The only other known crime at the church reportedly happened 3 years ago, when a man stole the pastor’s purse. His image was captured on camera and he was arrested by the police.
The Detroit Free Press is a bit more descriptive, and I quote,
“When a man tried to rob an elderly Waterford woman inside her church Sunday morning, she showed him the door, literally.
The 81-year-old woman was walking up a flight of stairs before the morning service at the First Presbyterian Church in Pontiac when the man pulled a plunger handle from his jacket and told the woman to give him her money, Oakland County Sheriff’s Office said.
She said no, loudly.
When the man repeated his demand, the woman, who asked that her name not be published for fear of reprisal, was firm.
“I just said, ‘You get out of here,’ and I pointed to the door,” the woman said.
Surprisingly, the man turned to leave. Perhaps, as the woman recalled her son telling her later, her voice carried the authority of a mother scolding a naughty child.
The man tried one door but could not open it, and he asked the woman how he could get out. The woman suggested another door, “and I said I’m going to be following you,” she said.
Then the woman yelled for help as the man fled.”
Thankfully, Nancy Duffield was not injured in this robbery attempt. As usual, the police do not recommend resisting a robber. There are many reasons for this, but the primary one has to do with his motivation.
Robbers are usually interested in property, and they are, most times, willing to hurt a person to achieve the goal. I think in this case a combination of surprise on the robbers part, and boldness on the potential victim’s part worked together to foil his attempt.