WILLIAMSPORT — At Choice Discount Outlet on Washington Boulevard in Williamsport, it was business as usual just before noon Tuesday.
Employee Ashley Baker was making coffee when she heard the door open.
She said a man walked in, picked up a piece of candy, a 25-cent Crybaby, and went to the counter. He gave her one dime, one nickel and 10 pennies.
“I counted it and opened the register. As it opened, I’m looking up and he lunges over the counter, gets his hands into the cash register, takes all this money. I’m punching him trying to get him to stop saying, ‘Oh my God, he’s robbing us, he’s robbing us,'” said Baker.
Baker said the man grabbed about $600 and his piece of candy before trying to run out a door the wrong way.
The store manager came running, too, and she and Baker began to chase him down the street to the Williamsport Mirror and Glass Company.
“I don’t know what he was thinking,” said Baker.
Baker said the thief ran to an area where a good Samaritan who happened to be wearing a heart monitor tackled him to the ground and held him down. But Baker said the thief managed to wriggle out of his sweatshirt and run again, but police were waiting nearby.
“The cops said that they were on the verge of coming somewhere else to handle another situation and they were, like, ‘Well, we’re right here, we might as well try to stop this guy,” said Baker.
Zachary Harmonosky, 22, of Williamsport was arrested and charged with theft and robbery.
Police said he had the money and the 25-cent Crybaby at the time.
They credit Baker, her manager and that good Samaritan with the arrest.
“I can see her doing it. That’s the kind of girl she is. Yeah, yeah, she’ll defend her self for sure,” laughed Margo Solomon, Baker’s mother.
“It was a crazy day. I wasn’t even thinking when I reacted. I just reacted,” said Baker.
Harmonosky is locked up in Lycoming County.