Fencing coach foils robbery with sword

Tennessee man says the crime unfolded right before him

Published On: Dec 24 2013 09:12:07 AM EST   Updated On: Oct 01 2013 08:03:53 AM EDT
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) -

A fencing instructor foiled a robbery this week, and he was even dressed to do battle as he chased down the suspected thieves.

Franco Scaramuzza said he always tries to be aware of his surroundings, so when the crime unfolded right in front of him last Tuesday in Bellevue, he knew he had one choice.

Scaramuzza was pulling into a local shopping center when he saw two men pepper spray a couple, then steal a purse.

"The first thing that went through my head is somebody should do something, and that's when I got really upset and disappointed with myself, because I realized I had the opportunity to do something. And I didn't want to be a hypocrite who just tweeted about it," Scaramuzza said.

He then jumped out of his car, grabbed his fencing sword, called an épée, and began charging toward the suspects.

The good Samaritan said he's been training his whole life for moments just like this. And, as a fencing coach, he knows how to intimidate.

He had just finished practice Tuesday, so he was already on guard with the full outfit and épée in hand.

"I charged towards them, holding my épée up high, and, you know, yelling at them," he said. "I kept yelling throughout the entire thing. They completely panicked and dropped everything they stole and really took off."

Police showed up and caught the suspects within minutes.

Michael Butt and Zachary Johnson are now charged with robbery and remain jailed on $50,000 bond each.