Bank customer stops robbery with a hug

ByGMA Team ABCNews logo
Friday, May 26, 2023

When one California man recently walked into a regional bank, he wasn't expecting to leave as a hero.

Michael Armus Sr. was at Bank of the West depositing a check on Monday when police say 42-year-old Eduardo Placensia passed a note to a teller, claiming he had explosives and demanding money.

Armus said he recognized the suspect as a former neighbor and friend of his daughter and immediately knew he needed to step in. He said he heard irritation and depression in the sound of the suspect's voice.

"So, I just approached him, and I asked him, I said, 'What's wrong?... You don't have a job?'" said Armus. "He said, 'There's nothing in this town for me. Nothing in this town for me. I just want to go to prison.'"

The 69-year-old said he tried to comfort the suspect and suggested that the two go outside. Ultimately, the situation ended in a hug.

"So, I took him outside, and I give the man a hug right here at the doors," said Armus. "He started crying."

Officers arrived on the scene shortly after the gesture and arrested Placensia, for attempted robbery. Placensia was unarmed, according to authorities.

In a statement to ABC News, police praised Armus, and called him a "Good Samaritan who delivered the right message that made a difference."

Armus said he believes fate brought him to the bank that day.

"It was meant for me to be here," he said.

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