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Police: Strangers block robbery suspect at Wawa from escaping

A group of good Samaritans surrounded the victim's vehicle, preventing the suspect from fleeing the scene until police arrived.

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Police in Prince William County credit a group of strangers for helping stop a robbery suspect who allegedly tried to steal a car from a 60-year-old woman at a Woodbridge Wawa on Sunday. 

Officers were called to the Wawa located at 2051 Daniel Stuart Square around 4 p.m. for a report of a robbery.  When police got to the scene they said they found a group of people surrounding a vehicle with a man sitting in the driver's seat. 

The woman told police that a man approached her from behind as she returned to her sedan. He then grabbed her purse and demanded her car, police said. Witnesses said the woman tried to fight back, but Brown allegedly elbowed her multiple times before pushing her to the ground. He took out a knife and got in her vehicle, police said. 

Police say the man, identified as 43-year-old Gregory James Brown of no fixed address, jumped into the victim's vehicle. However, multiple witnesses began to surround the vehicle as he was sitting inside until police arrived. Officers were able to get Brown out of the vehicle and detained him. 

"We thought the guy trapped in the car was the victim, so, we come out and the whole time the people around the car were telling us to call 911," Wawa employee Simcha Bonilla-Fuentes told WUSA9. "They were trying to block him as he was trying to actually drive away."

Bonilla-Fuentes recalled seeing about 10 people trying to stop the suspect who she has seen around the store several times before.

"There's plenty of bad people like that but then you have all these good people that see something and do something and don't expect anything in return," she added.

She said the victim needed medical attention but her injuries were not severe. 

"They tried to pull him in the police car and he tried to run away still," Bonilla-Fuentes said.

After police searched Brown, they found the same amount of money the victim reported missing from her purse, officials said. 

Brown was immediately arrested and charged with robbery.  Officials say he is being held without bond at the Prince William-Manassas regional jail.  

RELATED: Man trained in MMA fights back against potential carjackers, 3 arrested after pursuit

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