NEW BEDFORD (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) A suspect who ordered a New Bedford store owner to hand over money did not get far before he was brutally beaten by an angry mob.
Juan Rodriguez was robbed at knife point inside his neighborhood store at about 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday night.
Rodriguez says he was reading the Bible on his iPad when the robber reportedly ran into the store, punched him, and threatened him with a knife.
The accused robber backed off when Rodriguez said that he had a knife too. He then grabbed a baseball bat and chased the robber out of the store before yelling for help.
A few seconds later, Rodriguez confronted the robber with the bat and got some unexpected back up.
"Two neighbors came, I don't know where they came from, they grabbed him around the neck right away, and punching him, punch him, kicking him, and then they say okay, he's yours now, hit him. I said no, I can't hit him," says Rodriguez.
The store owner wanted answers. He asked the man why he tried to rob the store he has owned for 22 years and why he punched him in the face.
When one of the neighbors heard that the robber punched Rodriguez, they began hitting him again.
"I said please don't kill the guy, please don't kill the guy," Rodriguez told FOX 25. "When they put him on the ground, I got on top of his body, put my body on top. I said to the guy, you see, you came to the store to kill me and now I have to protect you."
The neighbors made the robber strip down to his underwear and then let him go, but a group of kids followed him and continued to hit him.
The alleged robber, Joseph Defreitas, was arraigned in a hospital bed on a charge of armed assault with intent to rob on Thursday. His lawyer is asking police to investigate the beating.