Video: Customer puts culprit in bear hug during AT&T larceny, deputies say

Deputies seek suspects

FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – A burly AT&T customer nearly stopped a man who stole multiple devices from the cellphone store Saturday afternoon, according to the Flagler County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies said two men entered the store before 1:15 p.m. and at first, walked around for a few minutes before making their way to a display table, which they rocked in order to free multiple iPads and iPhones from their security devices.

One man ran toward the front door, but when he realized that an employee had already locked it, he pushed passed an employee then ran out through an emergency exit, according to the report.

Surveillance video shows the other man attempting to open the front door when a customer in a biker vest puts him in a bear hug in an attempt to keep him from leaving.

"When they started running towards the door, that's when I tried to put one through the window and I grabbed the other one. One with the red shirt and hat," Eddie Mercer said.

Mercer said the man was threatening him but he didn't want to let him go.

"He kept saying, 'Let me go. I'm going to hurt you. Let me go, I'm going to hurt you.' I just looked and said, 'Hurt me' And just smiled at him," Mercer said.

He said he didn't plan to let the man off easily.

"I wasn't going to let him go. I was going to choke him out," Mercer said.

The customer let go at the request of employees who said they needed to abide by store policy, according to authorities.

Deputies said the two men left in a white passenger vehicle that heading west onto State Road 100 before making a U-turn to head east.

The men got away with an iPhone XS, an iPad Pro, an iPhone 8, an iPad Air, and iPad and an iPhone XR, according to the report. Deputies said a rose gold iPhone XS Max was found in the parking lot with finger prints on it. The stolen items were worth close to $6,000.

The two men and wanted on grand theft and battery charges.

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