CENTEREACH, N.Y. (CBS 2) — A Centereach man was arrested over the weekend for allegedly robbing an ice cream truck on Long Island. But another man jumped out of his car and chased the suspect into the woods, before police eventually apprehended him.
On Monday, CBS 2′s John Metaxas spoke with the hero who stopped the alleged robbery.
Michael Rhatigan’s unlikely story began at a red light Saturday night when he spotted a Mister Softee truck across Nicholls Road.
“And he’s parked by himself and that’s when I seen the figure come out in front of the headlights,” Rhatigan said.
Sensing something was wrong, Rhatigan’s instinct told him to walk to nearby woods and his hunch proved right.
“All of a sudden, I see a figure walking up this way,” he said, showing Metaxas where the incident occurred.
Rhatigan ran into 42-year-old Robert Martone and a scuffle ensured as the suspect tried to flee the park.
“I jumped on his back and tackled him onto the BMW. He kind of pushed me off and we rolled off a car,” he said. “This guy was strong. I mean, he was starting to get the upper hand on me.”
That’s when Rhatigan’s wife arrived with the truck driver and the three restrained the suspect.
It was only then when Rhatigan realized the suspect had allegedly robbed the ice cream truck while brandishing a gun and jumping in through the order window. The driver gave him $60 and the suspect ran off.
The gun turned out to be a fake, but Mister Softee drivers say Rhatigan is a genuine hero.
“It’s a good thing there’s people like that out there that actually are watching things that are happening,” said one drive.
As for his reward, Rhatigan got a vanilla shake. Martone is charged with robbery in the first degree. He’s being held on $75,000 bail.
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