Joe Curran“As long as I’ve lived, I’ve never seen anything like that happen; I’ve never seen anyone being attacked like that,” recalls Joe Curran, Jr., Assistant Vice President of Claims for Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company, as he remembers the day he witnessed a robbery and an assault.

“It was Monday, July 11, and I drove to the dry cleaners to pick up my shirts after work,” says Joe. “After I paid for my dry cleaning and I turned to leave, I overheard a man, whom I assumed was a customer, asking the female clerk behind the counter how much it cost to have shirts and a suit cleaned. I walked out of the store, but then remembered that I left my cane on the counter by the cash register. When I walked back in, I noticed the man who had inquired about pricing was now standing behind the counter and had the female clerk in a chokehold.”

“He was punching her on the side of her face and grabbing money out of the cash register,” recalls Joe. “I’ll never forget the look on the lady’s face; it was sheer horror.”

“I quickly grabbed my cane and yelled out the store door to nearby pedestrians in the shopping center:  ‘Robbery. Robbery. Call the police.’”

“At this point, the robber released the woman and was heading for the front door to make his escape,” remembers Joe. “I didn’t want him to get away so I pushed the door closed from the outside. I had to do something. I couldn’t just ignore it. When I saw others responding to my call for help, I decided I had to try to detain the man.”

“The robber, who probably outweighed me by 40 lbs., was pushing the door against me trying to get out,” says Joe. “He succeeded and ran out of the store. I tried to trip him with my cane, but I couldn’t quite reach him. He ran through the parking lot where he hailed a cab and made his escape.”

“Two pedestrians who heeded my call for help chased the assailant through the parking lot. They used their smartphones to take a picture of the robber and the cab he used to flee,” says Joe. “They managed to get a picture of the cab number, too.”

“The police arrived moments after I called 911 for help, and I told them everything that had happened during the robbery and assault,” remembers Joe. “The female clerk went to the hospital to be checked out. Oh, her frightened face. I’ve never seen anybody look so terrified.”

Joe said that he returned to the drycleaners the next day to inquire about the female clerk who had been brutally assaulted by the robber. “The store owners said that she did not come to work that day, but was going to be okay.”

Joe, who recently celebrated his 85th birthday in July, says:  “As long as I’ve lived, I’ve never seen anything like that happen. I’ve never seen anyone being attacked like that. I’m just thankful I was there to help this lovely woman. Who knows what could have happened to her if I hadn’t forgotten my cane and interrupted the robbery? I’m thankful that she’s going to make a full recovery. As for the assailant, I don’t know if he’s been captured yet, but I do know the police are looking for him and have spoken to the cab driver. I’m sure they’ll be able to bring this man to justice.”

Soon after the incident, Joe told his son about his experience. His son then gave Joe a nickname:  “The Caned Crusader.”

This article originally appeared in the Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company's internal newsletter Forum News on July 29, 2016. It was written by Claudia Ciolfi, the Manager of Public Relations and Strategic Communications.