Tampa business anonymously helps Korean War vet after snatch and grab robbery

Pinellas County Sheriff's Office

LARGO, Fla. (WFLA) – People in the Tampa Bay area have reached out to News Channel 8 for ways to help a Korean War vet who lost $1,000 after a man snatched the money from his pocket.

The incident, captured on surveillance video, happened Monday at the Optical Outlet store on East Bay Drive in Largo.

Owners of a Tampa business came forward Friday and donated $900 to the victim, Donald Hardman, 81, and his wife after seeing the story on WFLA.

The owners chose to remain anonymous and dropped off a check at the station.

On the envelope, they wrote, “Done in honor of both of our fathers, veterans.”

News Channel 8’s Corey Davis presented the check to the couple on behalf of the business.

They thanked the business and said they’re glad to see that there are good people in the community.

Pinellas County deputies are still asking for help from the public in identifying the man responsible.

Hardman was waiting with his wife for an appointment Monday and decided to make a trip to the ATM at the Sun Trust Bank across the street.

He withdrew $1,000 and said the money was for an extended vacation to see their great-granddaughter get married.

“There’s got to be a better way to make a living. If he gets caught, I’m sure it wasn’t worth going to jail for,” Hardman said.

He tucked the envelope in the front pocket of his shirt and returned to the eye doctor.

Hardman believes the man followed him from the bank.

While Hardman was waiting in the lobby, the suspect, a white man in his early twenties, is seen on surveillance footage sitting next to the Hardmans. Then, he moves quickly past the victim, snatching the envelope full of cash from his shirt before fleeing the establishment.

Hardman tried to run after the man, but he wasn’t able to catch him.

Hardman said he and his wife live on fixed income and the money is a big loss.

Rachel Jewell, the manager of the store, said she feels horrible for the couple.

An employee at the outlet said Hardman and his wife will each get a free pair of glasses.

The unidentified suspect is described as a 6′ tall white man weighing approximately 170 pounds. He has a thin build, light hair and a light skin tone.

He was last seen wearing a light blue t-shirt, tan cargo shorts, black tennis shoes and black shin-high socks with a black and silver ball cap that may have a Chicago Bulls logo.

Anyone with information regarding this incident has been asked to contact Detective J. Upton of the Robbery/Homicide Unit at (727) 582-6200. Tipsters who want to remain anonymous and eligible for a reward should contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS or www.crimestoppersofpinellas.org.

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