Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Public safety

Mom with toddler robbed in St. Petersburg park: 'I will never go back there again'

ST. PETERSBURG — Michelle Smith was at Dell Holmes Park for a playdate for her 1-year-old daughter.

Smith had parked her black Yukon and was putting on her daughter's shoes when a man jumped out of the hedges and pointed a gun at them.

"I just could not believe what was happening," said Smith, 32, of St. Petersburg. "By the time I put her shoes on, he had a gun to her head."

The man demanded the bag of towels and water she was carrying and all her valuables.

She gave him the bag.

Smith pushed the panic button on her keys, and the sports utility vehicle's shrill alarm sounded.

"Shut the alarm off," the man told her, shifting the gun in her direction.

She picked up her daughter and started running instead.

As she ran toward the park entrance, she met one of the woman from her play group. She used her cellphone to call police.

"It was unfortunate but I'm glad to have gotten out of there," Smith said. "That was my first time in that park. I will never go back there."

Police found Smith's bag nearby.

St. Petersburg police spokesman Mike Puetz said Tuesday there were no leads on a suspect.

Michael Finch II can be reached at [email protected] or at (727) 893-8321.

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