Joe Seelig, Highlands Today (Sebring, Fla.), Oct. 21
SEBRING — It took 24 stitches to close a slash wound on the right calf of a 71-year-old Sebring woman, reportedly robbed at knifepoint outside of The Home Depot, Highlands County sheriff’s Sgt. Jamie Casey said Wednesday.
The suspect, Jimmy Green, 28, of Memphis, Tenn., remained in Highlands County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bail Wednesday, after sheriff’s deputy Wayne Gunn arrested him Tuesday in the Avon Park McDonald’s Restaurant parking lot.
Gunn spotted a northbound Pontiac Grand Am with a Tennessee tag near the U.S. 27 National Guard Armory in Avon Park, and conducted a traffic stop. Avon Park Police Chief Frank Mercurio said several of his officers responded to McDonald’s to give aid if necessary.
Green was charged with armed robbery with a deadly weapon, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon on a victim older than 65 and armed burglary of an occupied vehicle with aggravated battery within.
Each of the three felony robbery-related charges have been enhanced as a hate crime, “committed with a prejudice of race,” according to the report. Green made racial remarks as he allegedly grabbed for her purse, with a box cutter knife at her throat, the report states.
The victim told investigators that she struggled with the suspect. She reported she kicked at him. That’s when her leg was cut, according to reports.
Debbie Phillips, a 44-year-old Sebring woman said Wednesday, that she and her husband were pulling into The Home Depot parking lot near the Burger King Restaurant when they saw the victim at the passenger side of her car with “her leg gashed open.”
The victim’s car was parked near some trees, she said.
“She said he’s got my purse,” Phillips said.
Phillips noticed a man walking to and getting into a red Pontiac. She jumped out of the car and ran toward the suspect. She said she saw his face through the car window.
He said something, but she couldn’t make it out, she said.
Two guys in a work truck and trailer tried to block the rear end of the car. Her husband, who also tried to block his way and the two men got a license number as the Pontiac pulled out, hitting another parked car, she said.
“My husband said I can’t believe you jumped out and ran over there,” she said. “It was scary — really.”
The suspect opened his door and dumped the purse to the ground, Phillips said. She picked up the black purse, with a cut shoulder strap and carried it back to the victim. Nothing appeared to be missing, she said.
“He didn’t have time to go through it,” Phillips said. “She kept holding onto my hand, thanking me.”
Phillips said the victim told her she kicked the suspect in the groin, while attempting to defend herself.
A firefighter, whose name remains unknown, was at The Home Depot shopping when the incident happened. He attended to the victim, wrapping the wound on her leg, Phillips said.
Phillips said she and her husband were at the store to buy concrete.
“They were getting cement, too,” Phillips said. “He must have forgotten something and went back inside, because the cement was already in the trunk.”
Green was also charged with knowingly driving while his driver’s license was suspended or revoked, Sgt. Jamie Casey said Wednesday.
The Grand Am Green was driving was registered to Green and no further traffic charges are pending, Casey said.