Man robbed in daylight at North Fort Myers WalMart
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla – A man affectionately known as Santa Claus was robbed at gunpoint in broad daylight in North Fort Myers. The disturbing crime happened in the middle of the day in a Wal-Mart parking lot.
"I came out of the van. I opened the door, leaned over here and put the milk in and when I stood back up he came up like this, pushed me up against the door,” said Jeff Pirtle, who lives in North Ft. Myers and looks like Santa Claus. “I was standing here, he was a little bit closer, I handed him money, he turned around and went that way and was gone."
It happened fast, Lee Co. Sheriff's investigators said Thursday morning at 11 in the left part of the parking lot of the WalMart on Pine Island Road.
Pirtle is best known in Suncoast Estates as Santa Claus. "I've done Santa for quite awhile. A lot of people know me as Santa. More people know me as Santa than Jeff," added Pirtle.
Santa did the right thing, he did what police will say you should do in that situation, give the robber what they want. In this case they wanted the $200 in cash Pirtle had on him. "He said he had a gun and was gonna shoot me. I'm like 'well, you know what dude' (shrugs his shoulders) I'm not Superman, what am I gonna do?
He may say he's not Superman and he didn't try to be but he's still shook up over living here all his life and getting robbed in broad daylight. "Is it a little discomforting to know you go to Wal Mart at 11 o'clock in the morning and something like this happens? I've been around, I grew up in this town and I've never, ever had any trouble like this and you know, things are getting rough I know that," added Pirtle.
Sheriff's deputies say they have a rough picture of the suspect thanks to surveillance cameras which may have caught him from a distance. They're still reviewing the video. And Pirtle is reviewing how he reacted. He says he was scared, “Yea. A little bit. Twenty years ago it might have been something different but I might have gotten shot then too but now it's like I'm too old and it's not worth fighting for, just let it go.” When asked if Santa’s a little older and wiser now he said, “Yea, I think so."
The Lee County Sheriff's Office describes the supsect as a white male, around 20 years old. He is approximately 6 feet tall and thin, weighing about 150 lbs. He has a thin moustache. You are encouraged to call Crimestoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS if you know anything about this. You can remain anonymous and collect a reward.
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