81-year-old man robbed at Smithfield bank, robber flees on bicycle

Posted at 3:53 PM, Sep 12, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-13 06:58:23-04

Smithfield, Va. - 81-year-old Jessie Pittman doesn't move around like most people. He had spinal tuberculosis, leaving him permanently bent over.

Friday, he was at the bank getting money to pay his bills when police say 20-year-old John Hassell blindsided him, robbing him of $2,000 in cash.

John Hassell

"I just hollered 'is my money gone?" Pittman says.

It happened at the BB&T on South Church Street in Smithfield. Police say Hassell was watching Pittman, and waiting until he walked outside. Pittman says he was almost to his car when Hassell snatched the money from his hand. Pittman says he didn't even see it coming.

"I didn't have all that tight a grip on it,” Pittman says, referring to the envelope of cash in his hand. “I just had it like that and he went like this."

Investigators say Hassell pedaled away on a bike, however police were able to track him down a few blocks away and arrest him.

Pittman got his money back; he’s thankful the robbery did not turn violent.

"Not scary,” he says. “I mean if he had come with a gun or knife or something, but he just took it and run off. 'So it could've been worse?' yes it certainly could."

Pittman may have been taken advantage of, but he's not holding a grudge.

“ I mean I don't have any hard feelings against him," he says.