Elderly man says he was sucker-punched during robbery on way to Bible study

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – Harris County investigators are looking for two men they say sucker punched and robbed an elderly man on his way to Bible study.

On a Friday afternoon in April, Anthony Vitale, 78, got out of his car holding a Bible and money for tithing, and started walking toward the house that doubled as a church.

“I heard somebody behind me, and when I turned around, I was knocked to the ground,” Vitale said. “It was stunning.”

Two men hovered over him, Vitale said, yelling “Gimme your money!” He gave them all $65 or so from his wallet, which was supposed to be a church donation for the poor.

“I was only a target of opportunity,” he said. “They looked around to see, ‘there’s nobody in the neighborhood, get this guy!’ And that’s what they did.”

As they drove away, Vitale memorized their license plate number and gave it to investigators, who used it to identify Willie Williams, 19, as one of the suspects.

There is a warrant out for Williams’ arrest. If you know anything about his whereabouts, please call the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

“If there were an opportunity to defend myself, this story might have been a little different,” Vitale joked. “I would have taked 'em!”

Bruises and swelling on his face took days to heal. Asked how he feels about the experience now, Vitale looks serious and says the men “need pity and prayer.”

“My job is to love them,” he says with a shrug and a smile. “It’s the only job I got. I’m not the judge. I don’t judge them. I pity them. I pray for them. That’s my job. I do my job.”

About the Author: