Victim hits robber with car at Rhawnhurst bank

A suspected robber found out that a gun and a knife are no match for a moving car when he tried to hold up a motorist outside of a Rhawnhurst bank on Sept. 19, police say.

The victim used his Chevy sedan as a weapon to disarm the 49-year-old crook, who remains hospitalized in critical condition.

Initially, police thought it was a case of hit and run when they arrived at the Wells Fargo branch in Roosevelt Mall, 7345 Bustleton Ave., shortly before 11 p.m. The officers found a man on the pavement with multiple head injuries. The striking vehicle was nowhere in sight. Paramedics rushed the injured man to the emergency room at Aria-Jefferson Health’s Torresdale campus.

Within hours, investigators had pieced together a different narrative based on additional evidence and eyewitness accounts.

A witness provided police with the description and license plate information for the striking vehicle. Officers found the car a short time later parked on the 7000 block of Rutland St. The white Chevy Cobalt had a shattered windshield and other damage.

When investigators tracked down the driver, they discovered that he was visiting the area from Portugal and does not speak English. Through an interpreter, the man told police he had driven to the bank with his wife and child to use the cash machine. An unknown man approached him with a gun and stole the cash, which amounted to a couple hundred dollars. The robber wore a covering over his face.

The victim fled the parking lot, but realized that his card was still in the ATM. So he drove back, only to find that the robber was still there. When the crook confronted him with a knife, the victim stepped on the gas and struck him. The robber crashed into the windshield and tumbled into the ground. Police found a hole in the glass apparently caused when the knife punctured it.

The victim retrieved his ATM card and cash then fled the parking lot again.

“He was scared. He is not from this country. He’s only been here for a month and he was in fear that he would be arrested,” Police Lt. Dennis Rosenbaum said.

Police recovered a knife near the scene but did not find a gun. Surveillance images of the robbery support the victim’s story, according to Rosenbaum.

The identity of the suspected robber has not been released because he has not been charged formally due to his medical condition. He has been unable to communicate with investigators. The motorist is not expected to face charges. ••