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Armed citizen, an off duty jailer, thwarts robber

Originally published here as:
Off-duty jailer thwarts robbery
By MARK HARPER, NewsJournalOnline Staff Writer
Friday, April 6, 2001

DELTONA -- An off-duty jailer picking up a pizza late Wednesday halted a robbery suspect, then, with his badge in one hand and a handgun in the other, waited for deputies to arrest the man.

Jerry D. Tilghman, 33, of Philadelphia Court, Deltona, was charged with one count of robbery and booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach on $5,000 bail, said Gary Davidson, public information officer for the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.

It was 10:15 p.m. when Volusia County correctional Officer Edward Kent handed his 14-year-old daughter Kristina a pizza, and climbed into his car in the parking lot outside Hungry Howie's on Doyle Road.

Something didn't seem right, Kent said in an interview Thursday. His eight-plus years of dealing with criminals in the jail had made him wary of the man in dirty clothes who had allowed Kent to move in front of him in line a few minutes earlier.

From his car, Kent saw the man push the cashier and begin fumbling with the cash drawer, he said. Kent told Kristina to get down in her car seat, then approached the store.

As Tilghman opened the door with one hand, holding the drawer stuffed with bills in the other, Kent pointed his personal handgun at him and told him to get down, he said.

"He was in a state of shock," Kent said. "He argued. He didn't want to get down. Finally, he got down and said he was scared. I told him, You made a mistake.' "

Employees inside the store dialed 911 and sheriff's deputies arrived within three minutes of the first call, Kent said.

"If he had run, I would have run after him," Kent said. "But I would not have fired. I guess (pointing the gun) was a big bluff."

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