After watching a video of a family being assaulted and robbed at a gas station in Lancaster on Memorial Day, Tony Todd felt he had to do something.
“I saw what happened,” Todd, who was a stunt double on the “Black Panther” movie, said. “The young lady was robbed of her money at the gas station. The first thing I did was, I wanted to do something about it because it reminded me of my mom raising three kids on her own. I found out that she had five kids.”
According to Deputy Yeni Deciga of the the sheriff’s Lancaster Station, an argument over a gas station pump led to one of the suspects gabbing the victim’s purse from inside her vehicle.
“That victim attempted to get her purse back from the suspect, and was punched in the face by the suspect,” Deciga said.
“After the first victim was punched in the face, another victim attempted to get the purse back from the suspect and was also punched in the face,” the deputy said. “The additional suspects became involved in the assault and began pushing and punching the victims as they attempted to regain the victim’s purse.”
Moments after arriving on scene, deputies located two female assault suspects, one a juvenile and the other identified as 19-year-old Emanie Jones, Deciga said.
“At this time, detectives believe two additional persons of interest were present during the incident,” Deciga said. “The deputies were unable to locate the additional persons.”
Unfortunately, the money was not recovered, as authorities are still seeking two “persons of interest” involved in the incident. So, the victim was suddenly down approximately $700.
After watching the story on the local news, Todd contacted the Lancaster Sheriff’s Department and asked to pass on his number to the young woman and ask her to reach out. She called.
“I got in a car and I drove to Lancaster this morning and hand delivered her money because all I could think about is if that was my mom or my sister or my nephew,” Todd told NBCLA. “I was just so heart broken.”
“I took a video with here, I took a photo with here, I met the whole family,” Todd said. “She started crying.”
This wasn’t a case of an actor or star seeking publicity. When asked about whether he went through an agent or a publicist, the man laughed and said he did not even have an agent.
“I thought of my mom and this young lady, she sells fruit for a living, and that was her money for her month, $700. And I said, ‘Hey, I’m going straight to my bank, first thing in the morning and dropping it off.'”
The family told him that they had a GoFundMe page, but Todd wouldn’t stand for it.
“I said, ‘No,'” Todd said. “‘I will be your ‘GoFundMe.’ I will get you your money back. And that’s what I did.”
The two suspects the police arrested, Jones and the juvenile, were booked at the Lancaster Station jail on suspicion of robbery. Jones was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail and the girl without bail, Deciga said.
Detectives were seeking the public’s help in locating the two persons of interest, as well as any additional witnesses, and urged anyone with information to call the Lancaster Station at (661) 948-8466.
Anonymous tips can be submitted through Crime Stoppers by calling (800) 222-TIPS.