BEND, Ore. - (Update: More comments from victim)
A New York state man was arrested on car theft, robbery and other charges Wednesday morning, accused of hitting a 70-year-old Bend man on the head with a stolen shovel and trying to steal a pickup he was driving in the Bend River Promenade parking lot. Police said the victim and bystanders pulled him from the truck and he ran, but was found a short distance away.
Police responded around 7:25 a.m. to the shopping center on North Highway 97 on the report of an assault in front of Delish Donuts, said Lt. Clint Burleigh.
A suspect identified as John Benjamin Silver allegedly struck the victim, Richard Lee Reid, in the head with a shovel and trying to steal a 2007 Nissan Titan, Burleigh said.
Silver had been removed from the pickup by bystanders and Reid, then ran before police arrived.
Reid, who works for the mall, told NewsChannel 21 he was emptying the trash outside the donut shop when a man walked up with a shovel in hand and jumped into the truck. Reid said he asked the man to get out of the pickup, which is when he was hit in the head with a shovel, causing what Burleigh called superficial injuries.
“I thought, like I said, he was a worker here — next thing I know, he smacks me in the head with a shovel,” Reid told Pedro Quintana. “And it could have been a lot worse. The shovel was a big shovel and had a lot of sharp edges.”
Reid ran bleeding into the donut shop, asking for help, and bystanders tried to help him get Silver out of the truck.
"He was pretty strong," Reid recalled. "His eyes were real dilated, he was calling me sir and we couldn't get him restrained at all."
A search perimeter was set up and police K-9 Rony was used to track the suspect, Burleigh said. A witness noticed the suspect circled back in the east parking lot of the shopping center, where he was contacted by two police officers and taken into custody without incident.
Police determined Silver had stolen the shovel from the back of another vehicle, parked in the Hobby Lobby parking lot, Burleigh said.
Silver was taken to St. Charles Bend for evaluation and faces charges of unauthorized use of a motor vehicles, first-degree robbery, second-degree assault, three counts of harassment, third-degree theft and unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle.
Some bystanders sustained minor injuries while trying to remove Silver from Reid’s pickup.
“The community members helping Mr. Reid should be commended for seeing a citizen in danger and trying to help him,” Burleigh wrote in a news release.
However, he added, “We do suggest that witnesses of crimes call 911 and try to not insert themselves into potentially violent situations.”
Burleigh said his department had a run-in with Silver in the past few days.