Just after 7 p.m. Wednesday, the victim, a 33-year-old woman, was walking out of the Jo-Ann Fabrics loacated at 1522 3rd St. SW. in Winter Haven and approached her car. While at her car, she opened the driver side door and 18-year-old Jaquan Williams pulled a black semi-automatic handgun, pointed it at the ground and said “I’m hungry, give me money.”
Williams then placed the gun in his waist band, leaving the handle of teh gun exposed for her to observe.
The woman pulled out the only cash she had, ($5), and handed it over. Williams told her that it wasn’t enough money and he demanded she go with him to an ATM.
There was a white SUV that Williams nodded towards as he told the victim to go with him. Inside of the SUV she saw a black male with an unknown colored bandana around his mouth.
When the victim saw the SUV, she told Williams that there was an ATM inside the Big Lots located in the same shopping plaza. Williams agreed to let the victim go to the ATM inside of the store. He escorted her inside with the gun still inside of his waistband.
Once they were inside of the store, the victim was able to go inside the ladies restroom alone. She found another woman in the restroom and informed her of what was happening and to call 9-1-1.
Williams saw the woman exit the restroom and he went inside to retrieve the victim. He immediately demanded her cell phone to keep her from calling for help.
Williams and the victim exited the restroom and began walking around the store in search of the ATM. During this time, the woman who had been inside the restroom was on the phone with the 9-1-1 operator while keeping an eye on Williams and the victim.
When Williams and the victim neared the front of the store, officers entered and took Williams into custody without incident.
“Her quick thinking to divert Williams’ attention to an ATM inside of the store instead of entering a vehicle certainly saved this victim from possible physical harm,” said Chief Charlie Bird.
“Couple that with the citizen who was not afraid to help by keeping a visual on the pair inside the store resulted in the arrest and a good outcome for everyone.” When detectives interviewed Williams, he said he targeted her because she was alone.
Williams, who was on probation for Grand Theft and Burglary was charged with Armed Robbery, Armed Kidnapping, Tampering/Harassing With Victim (taking the cell phone) and Violation of Probation.