Man Fights Armed Robber Over Moped and Wins

PHOTO: Timothy Gramza fends off an armed robber for several minutes and even gets shot, but wont back down.PlayABC
WATCH Indiana Man Fights Armed Robber, Saves Moped

An Indiana man refused to back down from an armed teenager trying to steal his friend's moped, defiantly shouting and pointing into the mouth of a long-barreled handgun.

Timothy Gramza, 56, was outside his South Bend, Ind., home April 1 packing some wood into his truck as he prepared to move to Alabama for a new job.

Four friends were standing outside the part of the house that Gramza uses as his woodworking shop, which has a security camera perched on top that captured the entire encounter.

At about 11:20 a.m., a young man in a hooded sweatshirt walked by in the street, pass a blue moped belonging to Gramza's 70-year-old friend.

Seconds later, he came back without the hood on, exposing his face. He got on the moped and tried to turn it on. As Gramza moved toward him, the would-be robber pointed the gun directly at him.

"You've heard the expression, don't take a knife to a gunfight; the only thing [Gramza] has was an armed finger," South Bend Det. Sgt. Eugene Eyster said. "It's one of those when you're telling yourself, either this man has a lot of guts or he's about to lose all that he has."

Eyster said Gramza had taken his gun out of the seat of the moped moments before the attempted robber and put it in his back pocket, but did not take it out during the confrontation with the suspect.

"You see him reach several times to his back pocket, but he just couldn't do it," Eyster said. "He couldn't make himself shoot a teenager."

Gramza and the suspect circled around the moped several times. Gramza tried to grab at the gun a few times and the suspect hit him in the head with the gun twice, but Gramza was unyielding.

Eventually, the suspect shot in the direction of Gramza's legs.

"He did have a red welt on his leg, but isn't sure if the bullet ricocheted or if it struck a rock that bounced up," Eyster said. "He kept feeling his leg, but couldn't see a hole."

Gramza, who could not be reached for comment, fell to the ground and the suspect got on the moped.

"He said the young man kept saying, 'How do you start this?' And Timothy was saying, 'You're not taking my moped,'" Eyster said. "He was not going to let him take it."

Gramza got back up and went after the suspect again, who eventually took off on foot. Once the man ran off, Gramza pulled the gun out and shot in his direction to scare him off and prevent him from coming back, Eyster said.

Authorities released the security video taken by Gramza's rooftop camera this week in hopes that the public will them find the suspect, and they did.

"We have a positive identification and are trying to locate the young man," Eyster said.

Authorities are not releasing the suspect's name because he is a juvenile. Eyster said that the 17-year-old lives in the immediate area of the attempted robbery.

"I don't know that I could confront someone and be as calm as he was or not want to take the weapon out," Eyster said. "It either took a lot of restraint and guts or real stupidity."