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Video: Good Samaritans help Fla. officer stop fleeing suspect

Officers pursued a man until he crashed his vehicle; when he tried to carjack a vehicle in a drive through, bystanders stepped in and held him until police could arrest him

By Irene Wright
The Charlotte Observer

THE VILLAGES, Fla. — Two Florida residents are being credited with stopping a man accused of robbing a woman, then carjacking a different woman in a Starbucks drive-thru, police video shows.

Michael Prouty, 39, is accused of breaking into a woman’s home in The Villages, a retirement community south of Ocala, on Oct. 24 and stealing a purse, cellphone and car from the garage, according to a news release from the Ocala Police Department.

Later in the day, Prouty was spotted driving the car around Ocala, police said.

An officer attempted to pull Prouty over, but he took off, then crashed the vehicle into other cars at an intersection, according to the department.

That is when two good Samaritans jumped in.

“I heard what sounded like a really loud crash. I looked over towards the gas station there on the corner and saw a Cadillac crashed into cars on (U.S. Highway) 441,” a man told police in a Facebook video shared by the department.

The man said he saw someone get out of the crashed car and start running toward him.

“There was like a bank truck that was sitting in that driveway that’s heading towards Starbucks from the gas station,” the man said. “So I went around the side of the truck where he couldn’t see me, like he was coming that way.”

The man said he confronted Prouty in between the truck and a wall, saying, “You’re not going anywhere,” and pushed him against the wall, the video shows.

“You know, I slowed him down and did the best I could,” the man said.

Prouty was able to push past the man and continue toward the Starbucks drive-thru lane, according to the video.

Prouty runs up to a vehicle at the window of the Starbucks and attempts to carjack the woman driving, video shows.

Then, a man sitting in the passenger seat of the vehicle behind them leaps out and runs toward Prouty, the footage shows.

He opens the vehicle door opposite Prouty and jumps into the car, forcing Prouty to run to the back of the Starbucks building, video shows.

The man chases Prouty, and grabs him, pins Prouty against the wall and holding him there until police arrive, according to the video.

“We are proud of these two citizens for their heroic action, for helping our officers make the arrest, and for keeping our community safe,” Ocala Police Chief Mike Balken said in the release. “We would like to let these heroic citizens know that we are currently hiring police officers, and we invite them to apply to our agency!”

Prouty was taken into custody and charged with fleeing and eluding, attempted carjacking and more.

Police said Prouty was also involved in a robbery at a 7-Eleven in the early morning on Oct. 24 before the home invasion, according to the release.

Prouty previously spent six years in prison on burglary and robbery charges from 2017 before he was released as part of a community release program, then he re-offended in Miami-Dade County, police said.

Ocala is about 80 miles northwest of Orlando.

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