Good Samaritans help police arrest robbery suspect

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by Andrew Michalscheck

Video report by Natalie Brand

Posted on March 27, 2013 at 5:36 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 1 at 11:34 AM

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MESA, Ariz. -- Police in Mesa are thanking a few good Samaritans for stopping a man who attempted to rob a Walgreens.

Detectives said the suspect, Piotr Zwolinski, 30, walked into the Walgreens near McKellips and Lindsay on Wednesday afternoon and demanded cash.

"I saw her face look bland and white," said witness Dustin Hollander of the cashier.  "She pulled out a handful of 20s, and I knew right then and there she was being robbed."

Hollander says gut instinct kicked in, and he tried to block the suspect's escape.

"He got away from me and ran around the island," said Hollander.  "That's when I saw this guy and told him to grab him."

That's when the second Good Samaritan, Jacob Heward, jumped in to help.

"The first thing that came to my head is just stop him," Heward told 3TV.

The struggle, caught on surveillance video, shows the suspect wasn't going down without a fight.

"The guy, at one point, stuck three dirty fingers in my mouth.  I'm glad this guy was there to pull him out," Hollander said pointing to Heward.

"I just kinda put my hooks in and got a choke on him, and he stopped from there," said Heward, who has a background in martial arts.

The two was able to hold Zwolinski to the ground until police arrived and placed him under arrest.

Police say the Good Samaritans actions were risky and not recommended, but they plan to recognize them at a later date.

"I felt like it was the right thing to do," said Heward.


"My wife works as a cashier," said Hollander.  "If she was getting robbed, I wish someone would step in for her."

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