Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Purse snatcher stopped, but then his girlfriend showed up

PORT RICHEY — Dennis Boff was just pulling away from the post office at the Books-A-Million shopping plaza on U.S. 19 when he saw trouble.

A mother and daughter — ages 49 and 71 — were leaving a Chinese restaurant about 1 p.m. last Friday when a young man approached them with a gun. He pointed it at the daughter's head and grabbed for her pocketbook. She clung to it.

"Give me your purse or I'm going to kill you," the man said, according to a report from the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. The woman screamed for help.

"Someone call 911," she yelled.

Boff, 69, started leaning on his horn. The would-be purse snatcher let go and ran. Boff followed.

The man was running toward Olive Garden when another man tackled him to the ground. Boff stopped his car, got out and helped the stranger hold the gunman down.

"I was trying to get his hands behind his back," Boff said.

Then, a woman in a blue Ford car drove up. She was also there to help — the gunman, that is.

She stuck her knee in the stranger's back, while Boff and the would-be thief wrestled over the gun. Boff said he had the man's wrist twisted so the gun pointed toward the criminal's stomach.

"Go ahead and shoot," Boff told him.

Then the woman pulled Boff off the thief. The gunman and his girlfriend got into the car and sped off.

Witnesses got the license plate number. And the woman — identified by authorities as Nikki Butrick, 20 — dropped her cell phone in the parking lot fracas.

Investigating Butrick quickly led detectives to her boyfriend, Robert W. Pardo, 25, who matched the description of the assailant. Both have lengthy criminal histories: Pardo's first arrest was for aggravated battery in Tampa when he was 11. Butrick's first arrest was for battery in Hillsborough County when she was 13.

On Wednesday afternoon, a deputy spotted the car witnesses said was used in the armed robbery. Pardo was driving and led deputies on a high speed chase on State Road 54, cutting in and out of traffic, according to a sheriff's report. After he got to his house on Leonard Road in Lutz, he took off on foot, but was captured by deputies, the report said.

Pardo admitted to the April 10 robbery, but told detectives he did not have a gun, according to his arrest report.

He is charged with robbery with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, reckless driving and resisting arrest. Pardo is being held at the county jail in lieu of $55,300 bail.

Deputies are still looking for Butrick, Sheriff's Office spokesman Kevin Doll said.

Boff wasn't injured in last week's skirmish and, after deputies arrived, he continued on to his engagement — singing songs to people in an assisted living home in Trinity.

He told the people at the nursing home what happened and he liked the attention he got.

"I was sort of blowing my own horn," he confessed.

But when he got home to his wife of 47 years, it was a different story.

"Are you crazy?" she asked him.

She worried he could have been hurt. But Boff said he was glad he could jump in and help.

"It makes me feel good," he said.

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this story. Erin Sullivan can be reached at esullivan@sptimes.com.

Purse snatcher stopped, but then his girlfriend showed up 04/16/09 [Last modified: Thursday, April 16, 2009 9:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally

    Business

    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  2. Kushner to testify before two intelligence committees

    Politics

    WASHINGTON— President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is set to make a second appearance on Capitol Hill — he will speak with the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, one day after he is scheduled to speak with Senate Intelligence Committee investigators behind closed doors.

    White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. [Associated Press]
  3. Rays relishing surprise status

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays on Friday played their first post-All-Star Game contest at Tropicana Field while holding a playoff spot since Sept. 23, 2013.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (53) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, July 21, 2017.
  4. Exhumation of Dalí's remains finds his mustache still intact

    World

    FIGUERES, Spain — Forensic experts in Spain have removed hair, nails and two long bones from Salvador Dalí's embalmed remains to aid a court-ordered paternity test that may enable a woman who says she is the surrealist artist's daughter to claim part of Dalí's vast estate.

    Salvador Dal? died in 1989 leaving vast estate.
  5. Sessions discussed Trump campaign-related matters with Russian ambassador, U.S. intelligence intercepts show

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — Russia's ambassador to Washington told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general, current and former U.S. …

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation after meetings with an ambassador were revealed.