Woman Tackles Florida Bank Robbery Suspect


A 66-year-old woman is being credited with helping thwart a bank robbery at an Oakland Park bank Friday by tackling the female suspect and holding her down until deputies arrived.

Witnesses said they saw a woman storm into the Bank of America at 150 E. Prospect Road and start demanding cash.

"She walks right up to the teller there, and she goes, 'I want $10,000,'" said witness Pat Caveney.

"She turned around and looked at us. She says, 'Everybody get on the ground,'" Aron Lassin, another witness, recalled.

As it turned out, no one was hurt and no money was stolen, thanks to Helen Dunsford, 66, who happened to be standing in line.

"This lady, I call her Grandma, she actually came and saved our life," Lassin said with a smile.

Caveney said he saw Dunsford lunge at the suspect.

"She just blew out. She just lost it. Grabbed her in a bear hug," he said.

Lassin said Dunsford is fearless because she is dying from cancer.

"The lady, she says she has cancer. She just jumps out and says, 'I got one year to live. Yeah, I don't care if I die.' She just grabbed the lady and we helped tackle the person down and we waited until the police come to arrest," Lassin said.

Dunsford has been in the news before -- not for crime-fighting, but for fighting with the city of Fort Lauderdale. She and her husband were in a lengthy legal battle to keep their clutter or face hefty fines for code violations.

On Friday, Dunsford was being called a hero.

"She's a brave old lady. I mean, I appreciate the help. If it wasn't for her, we'd have never had the strength to actually grab the robber and take her down on the ground," Lassin said.

The FBI is charging three suspects, including the woman Dunsford tackled, with bank robbery-related crimes. They will be booked into the Broward County Jail. As of late Friday, their names had not been released.

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