New Book

The Kidnapping and Murder of Little Skeegie Cash: J. Edgar Hoover and Florida's Lindbergh Case is now in stock on Amazon.  Robert A. Waters and Zack C. Waters delved into the archives of the FBI to bring this little-known true crime story to light. 

In a tale clear and gripping, Robert and Zack Waters have deftly chronicled a crime that was as significant to FBI history as all the public enemies that came before. The crisp narrative exposes J. Edgar Hoover’s bold political machinations and an urgent grassroots effort to save a missing child. This is true crime at its best: unembellished, dramatic, and authoritative.

—Ron Franscell, bestselling author of The Darkest Night

Robert A. Waters and Zack C. Waters have crafted a masterpiece of detective work and analysis, detailing the tragedy of the kidnapping and murder of Little Skeegie Cash in Princeton, Florida.  They place this tragic event in the context of the machinations of J. Edgar Hoover to claim credit for the eventual arrest of Franklin Pierce McCall in a desperate attempt to reverse severe budget cuts for the FBI by Congress. Based on newspaper research, examinations of the trial records, and 4,000 pages of FBI records, secured through the Freedom of Information Act, The Kidnapping and Murder of Little Skeegie Cash highlights one of the most infamous criminal episodes in Florida history. It is also another in the damning indictments of Hoover and his tenure as head of the FBI.  It is an excellent read.

—Nick Wynne, Executive Director Emeritus of The Florida Historical Society

Sun Struck: 16 Infamous Murders in the Sunshine State (New Horizon Press, 2009) by Robert A. Waters and John T. Waters, Jr.

Despite its reputation as a happy getaway with family-themed amusement parks, packed beaches, and air-conditioned retirement communities, Florida is also the home to some of the most brutal criminals in the nation. It was the killing ground of the Gainesville Ripper, the Tamiami Strangler, the Hog Trail Killer, Bobbie Joe Long, Aileen “Monster” Wournos, Ted Bundy, and Ottis Toole, the serial killer allegedly responsible for the murder and decapitation of “America’s Most Wanted” host John Walsh’s six-year-old son Adam.

In Sun Struck: 16 Infamous Murders in the Sunshine State, brothers Robert A. Waters and John T. Waters, Jr. describe some of the most heinous crimes that have emerged from the underbelly of Florida. The authors, both natives of the state, investigate the reasons Paradise has given birth to this kind of violence.

This compelling book chronicles several murders that made national news, including the cases of Jessica Lunsford, Carlie Brucia, Tiffany Eunick, and Caylee Anthony. While these murders gained notoriety, the authors also describe a dozen less well-known crimes. There’s the murderous pedophile whose botched execution changed Florida’s death penalty laws; there’s the unarmed female correctional officer left alone at night to guard five rapists and murderers, with predictable results; there's the bloody massacre at a south Florida Waffle House restaurant; and there’s the Milwaukee gang-banger who senselessly gunned down a beloved police officer during Spring Break at Panama City Beach.

Sun Struck: 16 Infamous Murders in the Sunshine State is a dynamic true crime book that offers the inside scoop on some of Florida's most shocking murders. This book will make you think twice about your upcoming road-trip to the Magic Kingdom in Orlando.

Robert A. Waters is the author of The Best Defense and co-author of Outgunned! True Stories of Citizens Who Went up Against Outlaws And Won. His true crime blog, Kidnapping, Murder, and Mayhem, is popular among Internet crime aficionados. Waters received his bachelor’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University and his master’s degree from the University of Georgia.

John T. Waters, Jr., is the co-author of Outgunned! True Stories of Citizens Who Went up Against Outlaws And Won. He served a four-year tour of duty in the Marine Corps before obtaining his B.S. from Middle Tennessee State University.

Comments from readers about Sun Struck:

"What an outstanding book. Many of the cases were new to me, and I like that." Richard C.

"I read this book while traveling from New York to Florida and almost turned around and went back home." Sarah R.

"I bet the Florida Chamber of Commerce loves this book! It’s great." Cindy J.

"A fresh true crime book with fresh, new stories. Not the same old re-hashed cases I’ve read about over and over." Emily A.

Available on Kindle at

Outgunned! True Stories of Citizens Who Stood Up To Outlaws—And Won (Cumberland House Publishing, 2004) by Robert A. Waters & John T. Waters, Jr.

In the movies, outlaws ride into town, terrorize the local citizens, and finally meet their match when the heroic sheriff arrives. In real life, it was different. Some of the most notorious western outlaws were killed or captured by townspeople. And the trend continued throughout the Prohibition era.

Outgunned! True Stories of Citizens Who Stood up to Outlaws—And Won describes a dozen such cases. There’s Jesse James, whose gang was decimated by armed citizens while attempting to rob a bank in Northfield, Minnesota.

There’s Tom Horn, assassin for the Wyoming cattle barons, who was shot by citizens during an ill-fated jailbreak.

And there’s George Birdwell, “Pretty Boy” Floyd’s chief lieutenant. He and his partners were gunned down by outraged townspeople as they attempted to hold up a bank in the all-black town of Boley, Oklahoma.

There’s the notorious Dalton gang that entered Coffeyville, Kansas, one cold fall morning in 1892 and attempted to rob two banks at the same time. Four of the outlaws were killed by armed citizens.

Then there’s Anthony Chebatoris, a Prohibition-era socialist who, after murdering an innocent bystander during an attempted bank robbery in Midland, Michigan, was shot by a dentist who kept a hunting rifle in his office.

Outgunned! True Stories of Citizens Who Stood up to Outlaws—And Won is the first book to systematically describe historical accounts of criminals who were captured or killed by ordinary citizens.

Many books romanticize outlaws or lawmen, but until now the role of citizens who banded together to save themselves and their neighbors has been given little more than passing interest.

Available on Kindle at

The Best Defense: True Stories of Intended Victims Who Defended Themselves with a Firearm (Cumberland House Publishing, 1998) by Robert A. Waters

When Gary Baker, a Richmond, Virginia businessman, arrived at work on December 2, 1994, he had no idea that his up-scale jewelry store was targeted for armed robbery by the Dixie Mafia. In a shoot-out that rivaled the OK Corral, Baker and his staff fought back, killing both armed assailants. Between them, the robbers’ arrest records incredibly spanned nearly a century! Prior convictions included burglary, armed robbery, assault, kidnapping and conspiracy to commit murder.

On the morning of May 9, 1996, Sammie Foust was cleaning her Cape Coral, Florida home when a stocking-masked intruder burst into her bedroom. He robbed her of money and jewelry, and began beating her because he thought she had more. Using a boxcutter, he cut her throat and sliced her face. Foust was able to halt the attack when she retrieved a .25 caliber semi-automatic pistol from her bed. An autopsy revealed that her attacker had crack cocaine in his system. He had recently been granted early release from Florida’s notorious “turnstile” prison system.

The Best Defense is a collection of fascinating accounts of people who have successfully used firearms to defend themselves and others. What were their thoughts and feelings as the events unfolded? How did they react to being suddenly thrown into a life-or-death confrontation? How did each drama unfold, and how was it resolved?

The Best Defense presents a dramatic picture of what is at stake in the fight against crime at the level where it occurs: victim vs. perpetrator. In many cases, self-defense with the use of firearms proves to be the law-abiding citizen’s only opportunity to save himself, his loved ones, or even strangers from attack.

On January 21, 1994, Travis Dean Neel was traveling to a shooting range near Houston. In front of him, a Harris County Sheriff’s deputy had pulled over a gang of car thieves. Neel saw the criminals ambush the deputy, dropping him with a barrage of gunfire. The armed citizen stopped his pickup, grabbed his own gun, and placed himself between the fallen officer and the perpetrators. In a blistering gun battle, Neel drove off the attackers, and was instrumental in their capture. The deputy, wounded four times, recovered, and Neel was awarded Harris County Citizen of the Year.

While writing The Best Defense, the author spoke with law enforcement officers, as well as survivors of crime who used weapons to protect themselves and others. In addition, he used newspaper articles, trial transcripts, police reports and other documents to accurately portray what it’s like to be attacked by murderous criminals.

This book is currently out of print but may be purchased at

Biography of Robert A. Waters

Robert A. Waters was born in Ocala, Florida and grew up in towns all over the state. He obtained his bachelor’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University and his master’s degree from the University of Georgia. He worked for twenty-five years with the developmentally disabled before taking early retirement.

Waters has published four true crime books, including his latest, Sun Struck: 16 Infamous Murders in the Sunshine State (New Horizon Press, 2009) which he co-authored with his brother, John T. Waters, Jr. Within the framework of sixteen murders, the authors explore the unique culture of Florida, including how its ecology, topography, and institutions can sometimes facilitate murder.

Waters writes a popular true crime blog called Kidnapping, Murder, and Mayhem.

Waters is married with two grown children. His interests include writing, blogging, church work, collecting guitars, and going to yard sales with his wife of thirty-seven years. They live in Ocala in a home which he likes to call a “little bit of country living in the heart of the city.”

Questions asked by readers

The following are some of the questions that have been asked by readers and fans.

How did you become interested in writing about true crime?

Back in the 1960s, I read In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote. Shortly after that, I read The Onion Field, by Joseph Wambaugh. Up to that time, I was trying to write poetry and literary-style short stories. These two books described human conflict so vividly that I began to collect clippings of interesting crimes from newspapers. Gradually, I felt true crime pulling me its way and I left my literary writing career in the dust. Over the years, I’ve researched and written about hundreds of true crime cases.

What are some of your favorite books?

The Bible; In Cold Blood by Truman Capote; Fall by Ron Franscell; The Hound of the Baskervilles and all Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle; my brother Zack’s great Civil War book entitled, A Small but Spartan Band; Lords of Sipan by Sidney Kirkpatrick; Hank Williams: The Biography by Colin Escott; Snapshots from the Lost Highway by Colin Escott and Kira Florita; All Quiet on the Western Front; 1984; Animal Farm; The Gulag Archipelago; Shane by Jack Schaefer; The Illustrated Man; any true crime book by Harold Schechter; Murders in the Rue Morgue--anything by Edgar Allan Poe; The Blooding and The Onion Field by Joseph Wambaugh; the early Ann Rule books when she wrote under the alias of Andy Stack; Digging up the Bible: The Stories Behind the Great Archaeological Discoveries in the Holy Land by Moshe Pearlman; Children of the Night by Edward Arlington Robinson; Of Mice and Men; and Abandoned Prayers by Gregg Olsen. I could go on and on. My life has been influenced by literally thousands of books.

How did you get your first book published?

For years I wanted to read a book about average citizens who successfully fought off attacks by hardened criminals. Since I could never find that book, I decided to write it myself. I researched accounts in newspapers until I was able to gather a database of about 7,000 cases of successful self-defense. Then I found the phone numbers of a few of the survivors of those attacks and called them. Some didn’t wish to speak about what was obviously a traumatic experience, but others were willing. I recorded the interviews, wrote the stories in the best true crime tradition, and sent a proposal to literary agents. I obtained an agent and she quickly found Cumberland House. When The Best Defense was published, it landed as the number one seller on for a few days, was optioned for a television series, and was widely reviewed. The book is now out of print and I'm told it's a collector’s item.

Your brother John was co-author of two of your books, Outgunned! and Sun Struck. Will he help you write your next book?

My brother was co-author of Outgunned! and was scheduled to help me write Sun Struck. But just as we were beginning the process, he had a stroke. After ending up in a nursing facility, John had a second stroke. He is unable to write at the present time.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I’m writing or researching most of the time, but my favorite pastime is going to yard sales with my wife. In central Florida, there are yard sales almost every weekend of the year and we enjoy getting out and hunting down treasures. I collect lots of different things, including guitars. I also love listening to and playing old-time hillbilly music (yes, hillbilly--not the modern so-called country music). Hank Williams is my all-time favorite artist.

Sample articles from my blog

"Welcome to my Nightmare"
by Robert A. Waters

When Todd Mendyk died of cancer in February, 2002, he cheated the executioner. That’s a shame. If anyone ever deserved to die the ignominious death of a condemned man, it was Mendyk. Let me warn you – the details of his victim’s last hours are gruesome and graphic. I’ll place them in italics in case the reader wishes to skim past them.

They were losers of the worst sort who spent their days sleeping and nights smoking weed, drinking beer, and chain-smoking cigarettes.

Phillip Frantz, 20, was a follower. He lived with his parents in Spring Hill, Florida, occasionally fiddled with his bass guitar, and dreamed of making it in a rock band. He rarely worked, was easily led, and tended to hang with the wrong crowd.

Todd Mendyk, also 20, was high on Satan. He craved pornography, especially bondage flicks. His dream, which he shared with the few friends he had, was to build an underground bunker in which to keep sex slaves. He read the Satanic Bible like a Christian reads the Gospel. He’d once been arrested for a murder in South Carolina, but had been released because of a lack of evidence.

On the other hand, Lee Ann Larmon, 23, had positive dreams. Unlike Frantz and Mendyk, the attractive brunette was willing to work toward achieving those dreams. She was a night-clerk at the Presto convenience store on U. S. 19 in Brooksville and attended Pasco-Hernando Community College during the day. Her dream was to get her bachelor’s degree in business.

On the morning of April 8, 1987, Larmon worked the graveyard shift alone. A heavy fog smothered the silent street outside and except for the occasional straggler, the night was dead. Shortly after 2:00 a.m., Larmon relaxed on a stool behind the counter. Her last pleasant moments were spent browsing an Avon catalog.

For Mendyk and Frantz, the night was business as usual: smoking pot, drinking beer, and fruitlessly searching for women. Driving into the Presto store parking lot, they spied Larmon. “Let’s grab this bitch,” Mendyk said. Frantz later claimed he thought his friend was joking.

Inside, Mendyk walked to the cooler and pulled out a hamburger. Unpeeling the wrapper, he placed the burger in the microwave and asked Larmon for some relish. When she walked over to get it for him, he grabbed her from behind. Mendyk forced the frightened clerk out of the store and into his truck.

While Frantz drove, Mendyk repeatedly molested Larmon. “Please let me go,” she sobbed. They drove into a swamp a few miles from the store.

Jan Glidewell of the St. Petersburg Times described what happened next: “They stripped her, bound her to a sawhorse – with wire – and bound her hands behind her. Mendyk spent more than an hour sexually assaulting her, with his body and with a [broom handle. He] took a cigarette break and then went back at it apparently for about another hour.

“He and Frantz then left her hanging by her wired wrists from a scrub oak tree and began to drive away when Mendyk’s truck got stuck. The two men decided to go back and after hearing Larmon beg tearfully for her life, strangled her with a garrote made with a bandana and a knife. Then, seeing her quiver, they wrapped a piece of heavy coaxial cable around her neck and twisted it to be sure. Then, still unsure, they cut her down from the tree, dragged her body 97 feet to a concealing stand of palmettos, and stabbed her in the throat.”

After getting stuck, the killers walked several miles to a pay phone and called Frantz’s mother.

By now it was closing in on ten o’clock and the fog was beginning to lift. Mendyk, Frantz, and his mother (who was told they’d gotten stuck while mud-bogging) were trying to pull the truck from the mud when a police helicopter suddenly swooped down above them. Even these two dope-heads could guess that a search was underway for the missing clerk. They knew the game was up when officers converged on the scene.

Searchers quickly discovered the corpse of Lee Ann Larmon. Cops arrested Mendyk and Frantz and the killers were soon confessing their roles in the crime.

Frantz agreed to testify against his friend and was given a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 25 years. After Mendyk’s trial, a jury took the unprecedented step of convening for only twenty-three minutes before returning a verdict of guilty. The judge sentenced the murderer to death.

Mendyk’s notoriety should have ended there. However, the Canadian Coalition Against the Death Penalty set up a website for the killer. Page after page of his writings, artwork, and photos now became available to anyone who wished to view it. Amid all his whining about death row and his pseudo-intellectual posturing, Lee Ann Larmon’s name was never mentioned. Online, Mendyk attempted to transform himself from pervert and rapist and torturer and murderer into “The Artist on Death Row.” He even married.

His pen pal request began: “‘Welcome to my Nightmare’ is Alice’s line so I bid you Enter my mind’s shadowy Dreamscape...” He stated that he was looking for “hedonistic” and “pagan” correspondents. Here’s a small sample of the killer’s writings: “Walk on the wild side with an American death row prisoner, confined to a 6x9 cage like an animal. Since they treat me as such I’ll be one – an unabashed, horny aries ram with fiery, dominant personality...Let your passionate, primal urges join with me for some hedonistic, erotic fun – all feisty ladies welcome and the kinkier, the better!”

In his confession to cops, at his trial, and on his website, Mendyk never showed even a shred of remorse for the murder of Lee Ann Larmon. But, according to the CCADP, the unrepentant Mendyk became “a friend” to the organization.

While Mendyk was playing the role of the horny “artiste”, Lee Ann Larmon was largely forgotten, except by family and friends. True, a small scholarship fund had been established at Pasco-Hernando Community College, and the Brooksville City Council passed an ordinance calling for at least two employees to work at convenience stores during night-time hours.

But while her killer enjoyed scamming the suckers, the innocent hard-working student faded from public view like the fog that hid her last torturous hours from the cops who were searching for her.

Sometime around Christmas, 2001, Mendyk began complaining of headaches. Doctors found that he had developed a malignant brain tumor. A few months later, on February 10, 2002, the murderer died. His wife and “friends” mourned his passing.

Lee Ann Larmon deserved better.

Todd Mendyk deserved worse. Much worse.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

A Train Wreck Called "Fast Eddie"
by Robert A. Waters

In John Updike’s poem, “Ex-Basketball Player,” Flick never makes it beyond his hometown. Unlike Flick, Edward Lee Johnson, Jr. moved easily from Ocala, Florida to basketball stardom. After four years at Lake Weir High School, he earned a scholarship to Auburn. Johnson had an outstanding career there. Then “Fast Eddie,” as he was called, was drafted into the NBA.

In his rookie year, Johnson shared playing time with Charles Criss of the Atlanta Hawks. The following year, he was a starter. After that, the years piled up, good years mostly. He was an all-star in 1980. By 1981, Fast Eddie was known for his hot-dog style of play. He scored almost 20 points a game that year. In his ten years in the NBA, he averaged 15 points a game.

But by 1987, it was all over.

He returned to his hometown a hero. No one there yet knew of a white powdery cancer eating his soul. By the late 1980s, his hometown of Ocala had shed its long-held Southern heritage. (The powers that be even moved the Confederate Memorial statue from the front to the back of the courthouse.) Northerners were moving in by the thousands and were mostly accepted by the locals. The gleam in the eyes of city administrators was green. The more people, they reasoned, the more money for all. Fast Eddie Johnson was a celebrity. Like other Ocala sports stars, he could easily have turned his good fortune into gold.

But within a year of returning, cocaine had drained the gold from his bank accounts. Although he still had a small stipend from investments, it was never enough to quench the poison thirst.

The inevitable arrests followed. If local newspapers are to be believed, more than a hundred. The charges were endless: burglary, robbery, forgery, theft, battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest, manufacturing drugs, selling drugs. Johnson served time in Florida State Prison. Twice.

Thoughts of a comeback had long-since died. The respect he’d once had from colleagues and hometowners was gone. By 2006, Fast Eddie was a train wreck. And it was only going to get worse.

On August 8, 2006, the mother of an eight-year-old girl called police. She’d come home to find her daughter, shaking and trembling, curled up on the floor in a fetal position. The sobbing child told her mother that Eddie Johnson, an acquaintance of the family, had come to the house, taken her into her bedroom, and raped her.

Johnson was arrested. He was already awaiting trial for the rape of a woman that happened just a few weeks earlier. Although he denied the charges in both cases, Johnson was held for trial.

On October 30, 2008, Eddie Johnson was convicted of, among other charges, “sexual battery on a child under age 12” and “lewd and lascivious molestation of a child under age 12.” The only sentence available for the judge to hand down was life in prison without the possibility of parole.

(In a sad footnote, the coach of the Phoenix Suns was also named Eddie Johnson. Not “Fast Eddie.” Just Eddie. But newspapers around the country mistook him for the other Eddie. Suddenly, Just Eddie was being maligned by the sports world. It took months for him to clear his good name. “I don’t fault the other Eddie Johnson for having that name,” Just Eddie said. “I think it’s a great name. He just doesn’t happen to be a great guy.”)

The train wreck called “Fast Eddie” Johnson had spun off the track and crashed. It’s sad. But what’s even sadder are his victims. Those he robbed and stole from over the years. Those kids who once idolized him. The victims of his physical and sexual assaults. But most pathetic is a child who has to live forever with the fallout from a brutal rape. The horror of that memory will always haunt her, will change her.

As Edward Lee Johnson, Jr. was shuttled off to prison, the wreckage strewn in his wake was the saddest thing of all.

Joseph Doody, suspect in the robbery of my wife
My wife was robbed yesterday in a brazen daylight attack
by Robert A. Waters

This will be a detailed account of a robbery that happened to my wife a few hours ago. Marilyn and I have been married for almost 38 years. We’ve worked hard all our lives and never had any type of run-in with the law. I’ve published four crime-related books but, except for a house burglary many years ago, have never been an actual crime victim.

Marilyn is originally from Tennessee. She’s known for her sense of humor and friendliness. We went to the same college in Tennessee and after graduating, we moved to my home town of Ocala, Florida. She worked for thirty-one years as a teacher in nearby Levy County, and retired two years ago. We consider ourselves to be gentle, decent people--what cops call low-risk crime subjects.

On July 30, 2010, however, that changed.

At about 5:00 p.m., we drove to a local Walgreen’s, located at the corner of Silver Springs Boulevard and Northeast 8th Avenue. I needed to pick up a prescription and Marilyn had a couple of items she wanted to buy. I parked in a space about fifteen feet from the plate-glass doors at the entrance of the store. As we entered, I noticed a man standing just outside the door.

I picked up my medicine, then handed Marilyn my brown leather Tommy Hilfiger wallet so she could pay for her items. I told her that I planned to go back out and wait in the car and read. When I walked back outside, I noticed the same man still standing near the front door. I didn't think much about it and got in my car where I had a perfect view of the entrance to the store and the people entering and leaving.

A few minutes later, Marilyn walked out.

Suddenly, the man standing in front of the door rushed toward my wife and grabbed her. I was horrified to watch Marilyn struggling with a stranger. My heart sank--she’d fallen a couple of years earlier and broken both wrists. I knew her hands were not strong, yet she kept fighting with the man. From a distance, it looked as if she was flailing as he attempted to control her.

After the initial shock, I threw open the door of the car and raced toward the scene. My fear was that Marilyn would fall again or that her assailant would knock her down. I prayed that he didn’t have a weapon.

I planned to try to intervene but had only gone a few steps when the assailant raced away. Marilyn began to scream: “He stole my wallet! He stole my wallet! He stole my wallet!” It was the best thing she could have done as it alerted everyone within hearing distance that a crime had occurred.

Two bystanders chased after her attacker. One was a man driving a pickup truck. The second was a woman whom we later learned was an off-duty cop. In the meantime, store employees called 911.

I checked to make sure Marilyn was okay. She was breathing hard and I was stressed from the run across the parking lot, but neither of us was hurt. We walked back into the store and waited. In less than two minutes, the first officer arrived. She was an attractive brunette who had a nurturing manner about her.

As she took the information, she asked the manager to check the store’s video-tape. Other officers arrived and store personnel informed them that the robber had been in the store earlier in the day. They stated that he’d unsuccessfully attempted to get a refund for two pregnancy kits. Two days earlier, the manager had asked him to leave the premises because he was harassing older patrons.

In my missing billfold was $72.00 in cash, my driver’s license, a debit card, a Medicare card, insurance card, and other such items. Marilyn and I described the billfold to the officer. Then the manager informed us that he had found a video-tape that showed the presumed assailant standing around outside. Although at that time we were unable to view a tape of the actual robbery, we did see film showing the suspect in the same area where he attacked Marilyn. We also saw a clear, color video of him attempting to get a refund for the pregnancy kits.

Other Ocala Police Department officers arrived, including a detective. Marilyn and I were beginning to calm down although we were still stunned by the attack. The detective asked if we would be able to wait at the store for a few minutes to see if they could catch the robber--if so, they wanted us to try to identify him.

After another half-hour or so, we were notified that officers had detained a possible suspect about three blocks from the store. We piled into the back seat of the detective’s unmarked car and were driven to the scene. Marilyn and I both identified the suspect as her attacker and he was arrested.

At that point, we were transported back to our car. We stopped at Zaxby’s for a bite to eat and debriefed ourselves. Finally, we went home feeling lucky that Marilyn wasn’t injured.

Shortly after ten o’clock that night, there was a knock on our door. A smiling police officer handed me my wallet. It had my money and driver's license and cards inside. I could hardly believe it.

Marilyn and I were informed that the suspect had allegedly confessed to the robbery and had directed officers to the location where he’d discarded the wallet. He stated that as he fled the scene, he’d pulled out the cash and dropped the billfold beside a nearby house. In addition to the confession, the Walgreen’s manager had finally found a video showing the actual assault.

Joseph Doody was arrested and charged with strong-arm robbery. A check of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office public records revealed that he’d been arrested at least twelve times for offenses such as grand theft auto, dealing in stolen property, domestic battery, drug possession, and other offenses. In one instance, he allegedly stole $672 from his girlfriend and went on a crack cocaine binge.

Here are a few observations about the day’s events. First, the officers from the Ocala Police Department did outstanding work. In my blogs, I’m sometimes critical of law enforcement, but these officers were professional, well-trained, and highly-motivated to find the assailant and my wallet. My wife and I can’t thank them enough.

The staff at Walgreen’s was very supportive. The manager spent a couple of hours viewing the videos and assisting police in their investigation. Other personnel gave us encouragement and attended to our immediate needs.

We are also thankful to the young man and the off-duty police officer who chased after the suspect. They were able to give detectives a direction in which to narrow their search.

I’m proud of the way my wife reacted. She raised the cry that sent civilians and police officers on the trail of the suspect.

Most of all, we’re thankful to be safe and uninjured. We feel fortunate the incident turned out the way it did.

During the episode, my wife’s sense of humor did not entirely vanish. As police officers questioned her, she noticed a dirty spot on the collar of her blouse. She said, “If I’d known I was going to get robbed I’d have dressed a little better.” Everyone had a good laugh and we knew she was okay after that.

Finally, this blog is written entirely from my point of view. The suspect has not been found guilty and will be presumed innocent by the courts until his guilt is proven.

NOTE: Joseph Doody pled guilty to robbery without a deadly weapon and was sentenced to two years in prison. He is currently serving his time. Doody will be released later this year. When he gets out, Marilyn and I hope he will stay off drugs and live a productive life.

For more of Robert's true crime stories, check out his blog, Kidnapping, Murder, and Mayhem.