Almost a decade of quiet Mount Pleasant business life for Dr. Thomas Mirabile changed Tuesday when a man on a bicycle stuck his head into his optometry office.
“Two hours later he returned and had his gun over [the front counter] and proceeded to cock it and ask for our money box. I handed him the money box and he took up the tray and dashed out the door with my wife in hot pursuit. For her protection, I went after her,” Mirabile explained.
It became a dangerous dash with an armed man.
“When your adrenaline is pumping, you’re angry, you’ve been violated and it’s something that you don’t want to really sit down on if you can try to make a difference,” he said.
The group ran through the business complex on Highway 41 near Highway 17. According to police, the man took the money out and then discarded the cash drawer.
“We went for a while. We were screaming to have him stop. I was screaming and running; telling everybody to be careful that he has a gun… I was mainly just trying to follow him and see where he goes. Hopefully he would trip. Hopefully more citizens would come around — maybe somebody having a gun,” he explained.
Mirabile could not catch up to the armed robber who made it to Highway 17. He posed as a hitchhiker, but no one stopped. While he may have gotten away, he left a trail of evidence.
“We did have a lot of finger prints. He left his bicycle here and finger prints were on the drawer. Finger prints were on his bicycle. We do have his jacket and DNA is in there,” Mirabile said.
After the ordeal, the eye doctor is now making sure he sees everything.
“The owner of the plaza is going to install security cameras and we are going to be doing the same,” he said.
He now hopes to only deal with glasses and no more guns.
“I did take a chance. I don’t encourage people to do that. I am from New York City originally and I have been robbed a few times. Adrenaline takes over and is not necessarily a bright thing to do,” he said.
He now has a machete that he keeps with him at the office.
If you have any information, you are asked to call Crimestoppers at 554-1111.