September 21, 2012
Firefighter thwarts bank robbery, knocks out killer
By GRANT LAFLECHE, QMI Agency
ST. CATHARINES, Ont. – A firefighter in St. Catharines, Ont., stopped an alleged bank robbery attempt on Thursday by putting a convicted killer in a choke-hold.
“Yeah, he just went to sleep and we tied him up,” said firefighter Ray Garrigan a few hours after he helped foil the alleged robbery attempt.
Richard Alligood, 40, faces a robbery charge in connection with the incident at the First Ontario Credit Union.
In 2003, Alligood pleaded guilty to manslaughter for the death of his sister’s boyfriend, who was stabbed to death in the playground across the street from the credit union. He was sentenced to seven years in prison.
Garrigan was at the bank shortly before 2 p.m. Thursday to get some banking done before going on duty at the fire station. He would have thought nothing of the patron at the next counter were it not for the argument.
“You know when you hear two people arguing you don’t necessarily want to get involved because you don’t know what is going on,” he said. “But when I looked it was obvious this was not an argument about who was going to the counter first.”
Niagara Regional Police Staff. Sgt. Brian Bleich said a man approached a bank teller and demanded money, a typical modus operandi for bank robbers.
A man behind him, in his 50s, overheard the suspect demanding money and grabbed him.
Garrigan heard the initial commotion, but didn’t pay much attention to it until he got a look at the men.
One of them was hooded and his face hidden behind a dust mask.
“That wasn’t exactly proper attire for doing business at a bank,” said Garrigan. “I thought,‘That’s not right,’ and I just tackled him.”
Garrigan and the older bank customer — who did not want to be identified — dragged the would-be robber to the floor.
The 33-year-old firefighter slapped a choke hold on the bandit until he passed out. He checked to make sure the man’s airway was still open and then got about the business of securing him for the police.
“I said to the other guy, ‘Do you have a belt?’” Garrigan said. “So he took off his belt and we tied his hands up. We didn’t see any weapons, but just in case he had something, we tied him up. Then we just waited for the police.”
No one was seriously hurt and police say no weapon was spotted.