A local businessman robbed at gunpoint Friday night said “angels” kept him from harm.
Vern Howard, who owns Damascus Rehab as well as Bulloch DUI, also leads an Alcoholics Anonymous group that meets at an East Cherry Street location. During an AA meeting Friday night, Howard walked out to his truck and was accosted by an unknown Black man with a gun.
“He stepped out from behind the truck and pointed the gun to my head. He never said a word,” he told the Statesboro Herald.
The gunman then climbed into Howard’s truck and grabbed a “large sum of cash,” according to Statesboro police Capt. Jared Akins.
Howard, 72, closed the truck door, pinning the suspect, and “yelled for the men (at the meeting), but they did not hear me,” he said. “I held him there about 15 seconds, but he pushed out.”
The suspect never spoke but placed the gun barrel against Howard’s temple again in what Howard said was an obvious silent warning. He then “jumped the fence and ran across the gravel parking lot and got into a waiting car.”
At that point, Howard was able to get the attention of the men in the meeting and some gave chase, but the robber and unknown person driving the car escaped, he said.
Akins said the robbery is under investigation and asked that any businesses or residents in the East Cherry Street area “that might have Ring or surveillance cameras” please come forward and share footage with detectives.
Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to call the Statesboro Police Department at (912) 764-9911. Calls may be kept confidential, he said.
Howard said that other than bruises, he was uninjured.
“There was definitely an angel between me and that gun barrel,” he said.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.