WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (WFLA) – A Winter Haven woman is fortunate to be celebrating the holidays with her family tonight after she was robbed and kidnapped at gunpoint while shopping.
Police said her quick thinking may have saved her.
The woman who dialed 911 for the victim is being hailed a hero. Tanisha Moment was finishing some last minute shopping at the Big Lots on 3rd Street SW, when she encountered a frightened woman in the bathroom, begging for help.
“She said, ‘Can you please help me? There’s a guy outside the door and he has a gun and he threatened to kill me. He’s robbing me. He wants me to go to the ATM to pull out the money that I have,'” Moment recalled.
Moment said that at first she didn’t believe the victim. “As I’m walking outside of the door a gentleman came into the woman’s restroom, so when he walked into the restroom, that was like, okay, this is real,” she said.
Investigators said the woman was held up around 7 p.m. in the parking lot after leaving Jo-Ann Fabric. They say Jaquan Williams, 18, pulled out a gun and demanded money. Investigators said, when $5 wasn’t enough, he told the victim to go to an ATM. Quickly thinking, the woman told Williams there’s an ATM next door in Big Lots.
He allowed her to go to the bathroom once inside. That’s when the victim asked Moment to call the police.
“I dialed 911,” Moment sid. “I saw another worker there and I let her know to get management to let them know that there’s a man inside the restroom, holding her hostage to rob her.”
Moment followed the two around while still on the phone. Police arrived just in time before Williams tries to leave.
“I feel like God placed me there, because if I wasn’t there, what would have happened to her?” Moment explained.
The victim did not want to speak on camera but wrote in a text message “Tanisha is a great woman and I look up to her as my angel from God. I will never forget her and she will have a place in my heart.”
Williams was on probation for grand theft and burglary. He’s charged with armed robbery, kidnapping and harassing the victim.