Lakers thwart attempted robbery

GVL/Kevin Sielaff
Daniel Montgomery

GVL/Kevin Sielaff Daniel Montgomery

Drew Howard

An attempted robbery was stopped when two Grand Valley State University students intervened at a Traverse City Meijer on Jan. 18.

Daniel Montgomery and his girlfriend Sydney Diss, both sophomores at GVSU, pulled into a Meijer on U.S. 31 around 7 p.m. when they heard a woman screaming for help in the parking lot.

“I was with my girlfriend, and we had just seen American Sniper,” Montgomery said. “Afterwards, we went to Meijer and parked in the lot. I had just opened up my door when I heard this lady screaming ‘Help! Help! Help!’”

Montgomery said there was no one else in the parking lot to see what was happening.

“We didn’t know what was going on,” Montgomery said. “There were a lot of cars, but there was nobody in the parking lot.”

After hearing the cry for help, Montgomery spotted the thief.

“I saw this guy who started running and he had the purse in his hand,” Montgomery said. “He ran over to a car and was banging on the door screaming ‘Go, go go!’ The car ended up driving away behind the Meijer, and I didn’t really know what was going (on) until I saw him run behind the building.”

When the couple realized the situation at hand, Diss turned to Montgomery and said, “Can you catch him?”

“I just dropped my keys and sprinted after him,” Montgomery said. “He went behind Meijer, and I don’t think he really saw me running after him until I turned the corner.”

Behind the Meijer, Montgomery ran full speed ahead and shoved the thief.

“Before I pushed him, he turned around and noticed I was there,” Montgomery said. “I never grabbed the purse from him. He probably threw it close to ten feet in the air.”

After returning the purse back to its rightful owner, Montgomery said the whole affair was a huge adrenaline rush.

“To me, it felt like I was trying to comprehend the whole thing for about 30 seconds, when it was probably only five,” Montgomery said. “I really didn’t think I would catch him; it was more of an adrenaline rush.”

Diss said she tried to console the lady as Montgomery went running after the thief.

“Immediately after he started running, I approached the lady to let her know we were helping her,” Diss said. “Afterwards, once she calmed down, she was so thankful that people cared about her. She said she could have never done it without us.”

The thief was arrested later at a house in Long Lake Township. Another man and woman connected with the attempted robbery are still being sought after by investigators.

People don’t need to be a hero to help someone, Diss said.

“After the experience, it doesn’t even like that big of a deal,” Diss said. “Everyone should help someone. It was a really life-changing experience, and I was glad it was us.”

Montgomery said that if he was ever in the position he saw the lady in, he would hope someone would help him as well.

“There are more good people than bad people, so the bad people should always lose,” Montgomery said. “The police department did a great job, and everything turned out really well.”

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