New Bedford Store Owner, Neighbors Chase Down Would-Be Robber
Another store owner protects his livelihood against a would-be robber.
Police say a masked man entered the J&L Mini Mart on Maxfield Street last night, and grabbed the store owner, 55-year-old Juan "Nacho" Rodriguez, threatened him with a knife and demanded cash.
Rodriguez tells WBSM News as soon he was able to break free of the suspect's grasp, he lunged for his own knife under the counter.
Nacho says he chased the man out of the store, yelling. Neighbors assisted in the chase and caught up with the suspect, beating him, and stripping him down to make him walk the streets as punishment. Rodriguez says he then threw himself on the suspect, protecting him from any further harm until police arrived.
The suspect, 22-year-old Joseph DeFreitas, is now under police guard at St. Luke's Hospital, where he's being treated for head injuries. He will be arraigned on a charge of armed assault with intent to rob when he's released from the hospital.
Rodriguez says it's the fifth time he's been held up in 23 years of operating the store. He is well-liked in the neighborhood, and considers himself a "man of peace". Rodriguez volunteers at the Bristol County House of Corrections, ministering to the inmates.